So, given that there seems to be a lot of confusion about certain terms connected with the darknet and/or dark web, I thought it might be useful to have a “darknet dictionary” here. I must give some credit for this idea to Deepdotweb.com, who featured a similar article at DeepDotWeb’s DarkNet Dictionary Project! This isn’t a carbon copy of theirs, but they inspired me.
Their darknet dictionary is an ongoing project, so I think I’ll do the same with mine. If anyone wants to suggest new entries (or corrections) in the comments, feel free! I just may add them.
NOTE: Some links below may be down.
2FA – Abbreviation for “two-factor authentication.” 2FA is a type of multi-factor authentication (MFA), i.e. a user is only granted access to a site after presenting multiple pieces of authentication. Although used on the clearnet as well, 2FA is used on many darknet markets (and other sites) to verify users’ identities.
Example: a username and password, plus a separate PIN or a security question.
Active at Dark Markets? – A Tor hidden service set up by Dutch law enforcement to warn darknet market users that they are being tracked.
Alienet – A VPN-based hidden network that offers messaging, mail, IRC, and hidden services. Not as well known as some other darknets, but it is real. Their site is at http://darknetproject.info on the clearnet, or https://unionsoe3yw6fxaq.onion on Tor.
AlphaBay – Formerly one of the top darknet markets on the Tor network. Used to use both multisig transactions and a traditional escrow system (depending on the vendor).
AYW – All You’re Wiki [sic]. The Hidden Wiki with all CP links removed.
Besa Mafia – A fake hitman service that (surprise, surprise) turned out to be a scam. Though a number of people paid to use their “services,” no one was ever hurt or killed. The admin of the site did escape with a number of people’s bitcoins, however.
Bitcoin– A digital currency created by the mysterious “Satoshi Nakamoto” in 2009. Bitcoin incorporates encryption techniques to regulate the creation of new units, and to verify the transfer of funds. The smallest units of bitcoin are called “satoshis.”
Bitcoin Mixer – A service used to disguise the trail of bitcoins back to their original owner. Often used when buying and selling illicit goods on darknet markets. A few examples of bitcoin mixers are: BitCloak, Grams Helix, and BitBlender.
Blackbook – A former social network on the Tor network, modeled after Facebook. Used to be located at https://blkbook3fxhcsn3u.onion.
Black Market Reloaded (BMR) – A former darknet market on Tor, and one of the oldest, which is currently offline. Plans have been announced for it to restart.
Blockchain – A public ledger of all bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed. This applies to other cryptocurrencies as well.
BotDW – Boss of the deep web.
Candydoll – A term referring to non-nude photos of children in suggestive poses or sexy clothing. Softcore child pornography, more or less. (Also may refer to makeup kits that are designed for this style of photography.)
NOTE: The screenshot below is from one of the sites selling the makeup kits.
Carding – The trafficking of credit cards, bank accounts, website accounts, and other financial or personal information. May or may not take place within larger darknet markets. Some vendors on the dark web specialize in this type of crime.
Cheese Pizza – Another slang term for child pornography.
Cipherspace – The “hidden internet,” built on top of anonymity networks like Tor, I2P, Freenet, and others.
Clearnet – The “normal internet” accessible without special software or configurations. (e.g. Google, Bing, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) Also sometimes referred to as the “surface web” (though this term is wildly inaccurate and confusing.)
Cold storage – Keeping a reserve of bitcoins offline (e.g. on a USB drive or encrypted media) to prevent tampering or theft.
CP – An acronym for “child porn” or “child pornography.”
Cryptography – The art of writing and solving codes. With regard to the dark web, it is a means of encrypting data (messages, etc.) that you send over the network.
Daisy’s Destruction – An infamous film made by child pornography producer Peter Scully (see entry), through his company No Limits Fun. The film shows the sexualized torture and abuse of several young girls, one of whom is referred to as “Daisy.” However, the film has reached mythological status on the web, with the details and facts about it being blown out of proportion.
Darknet – An overlay network that requires specific software, configurations, or permission to access. Examples include: Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet. Some of these networks (like Freenet) have both “darknet” and “opennet” modes, where you can choose whether to connect only to peers that you trust, or connect to anyone.
Darknet Heroes League (DHL) – DHL is an escrow market comprised of old school vendors who were invited to sell there. Access it at http://darkheroesq46awl.onion.
Darknet Market – A market hosted on an anonymity network (such as Tor) that often (but not always) deals in illicit goods. Popular purchases include drugs, drug paraphernalia (like pipes), firearms, hacked PayPal accounts, skimmed credit cards, counterfeit money, porn accounts, and fake official documents.
Dark0de (a.k.a. Darkode) – A notorious hacking and cybercrime forum, originally hosted on the clearnet, which transitioned to the Tor network.
Dark Mamba – A new “private military company” that claims to offer murder-for-hire services, run by the admin of the old Besa Mafia site. (i.e. another fake hitman site.) Located at https://darkmambawopntdk.onion.
Dark Web – The part of the web that exists on darknets like Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet, and other networks, and requires special software, configurations, or permission to access. The dark web is a small part of the deep web. The word “dark” does not refer to the content, but rather the fact that the networks are special access.
Dark Web News – A news site that reports on events that take place on the dark web. Also features bitcoin tutorials, links, and a comparison of darknet markets. Located at https://www.darkwebnews.com.
DBAN – Darik’s Boot and Nuke – free erasure software that automatically deletes the contents of any hard drive it can detect, developed by Darik Horn.
Deep Web – The part of the web not indexed by traditional search engines, like Google. This term is often confused with “dark web,” but the two are not synonymous.
Deepdotweb – A site that releases news, articles, and occasionally tutorials about the dark web (primarily Tor). They also keep an accurate, updated list of darknet markets that’s very reliable. Can be found at Deepdotweb.com or https://deepdot35wvmeyd5.onion.
Disconnect – A clearnet search engine that prevents other search engines from tracking your searches. It used to be the standard search engine on the Tor browser. Located at https://search.disconnect.me/.
DNStats.net – A site that monitors the status of various darknet markets and a few other sites on the Tor network. Located at https://dnstats.net/ on the clearnet, and https://dnstatstzgfcalax.onion/ on Tor.
Doxing – The act of researching and posting someone’s personal information (e.g. phone number, address, full name) on the internet. Takes place on both the dark web and clearnet.
Doxxters, The – A group who offers a doxing service for pay. Located at https://doxxtereufvckkiz.onion.
Dream Market – Another top darknet market hosted on the Tor network, which uses a traditional escrow system. Access it at http://lchudifyeqm4ldjj.onion/?ai=1675.
DuckDuckGo – Currently the standard search engine used on the Tor browser. Is popular with privacy-minded users. Located at https://duckduckgo.com/ on the clearnet, and https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion on Tor.
Dump – The sharing of stolen data, such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account data. Also takes place on the clearnet, but is more infamous on networks like Tor.
Eepsite – The name for hidden services hosted on the I2P network. They end in the domain name .i2p.
Freedom Hosting – A former Tor specialist web hosting service which, at its height in 2013, was the largest hosting service of its kind. Was the target of an attack by Anonymous, as well as a large law enforcement operation headed by the FBI. Has since been succeeded by another service dubbed “Freedom Hosting II.”
Freenet – A peer-to-peer network for censorship-resistant communication, touted as an alternative to other networks like Tor and I2P. It features anonymous messaging, email, social networking, and site hosting. A typical Freenet URI looks like this:
Download it at https://freenetproject.org/.
Freesite – The name used for Freenet’s hidden services.
Fullz – In carding terms, “fullz” refer to full database records of personally identifiable information. Such things might include names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account information, social security numbers, passwords, etc.
Galaxy2 – A popular social network on Tor. It is a follow-up to the original Galaxy social network, created by “Lameth.” Located at https://w363zoq3ylux5rf5.onion.
GNUnet – A free software framework for decentralized peer-to-peer networking. It includes P2P applications, such as chat, file sharing, and VPN.
Grams – A Tor-based search engine for darknet markets, which helps compare goods, prices, and vendors. Tor link: http://grams7enufi7jmdl.onion/
HANSA Market – A darknet market with a multisig escrow system. Tor link: http://hansamkt2rr6nfg3.onion/affiliate/110
Hard Candy – Slang term for an underage girl – roughly age 12-16, on both the dark web and clearnet. Also can refer to child pornography featuring girls of this age.
Harry71’s Onion Spider – A popular link repository on Tor. Is respectable because it’s updated daily, and the links are generally accurate and active. Tor link: skunksworkedp2cg.onion
Helix Light – A bitcoin cleaner available from the developers of Grams. Tor link: http://grams7enufi7jmdl.onion/helix/light
Hell – Infamous hacking forum formerly hosted on the Tor network, where users share hacking tips as well as stolen data. There is another site currently going by the same name, but it is actually a clone site made with a stolen private key from the original site.
Hidden Wiki – Name for a popular wiki on Tor that links to and describes some basic Tor hidden services (for noobs). The main one is located at http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page. There are several other sites that use the name Hidden Wiki as well, but this one is usually the site in question.
Hitmen/Assassins – A service that’s supposedly easy to find on the dark web. All of the sites offering these services have turned out to be elaborate scams, but the myth continues to be perpetuated by creepypastas and rumors.
Hurtcore – Most extreme form of child pornography, involving such things as physical injury and rape, which can be found on the dark web. Avoid at all costs.
I2P – An overlay network and darknet that allows applications to send messages to each other anonymously and securely. Download it at https://geti2p.net/en/.
L33TER – A vendor shop started by L33Ter, vendor from most of the early darknet markets. Specializes in digital and physical products. Located at http://l33ter2w7q4bytfh.onion.
LE – An abbreviation for “law enforcement.”
Litecoin – A peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that is based on bitcoin. Find out more at Litecoin – Open source P2P digital currency.
Lux – Username of Matthew David Graham, convicted (and imprisoned) owner of child pornography sites PedoEmpire, Hurt 2 The Core, and Love 2 The Core (among others).
Mesh routing network – Networks made up of radio nodes arranged in a mesh topology. Examples include Netsukuku, GNUnet, Hyperboria, and CCNx. Many of these are still in beta mode and have not been officially released, but they have been advertised as alternatives to the traditional internet structure being used right now.
Multisig – An abbreviation for “multsignature.” The requirement for more than one key to authorize a bitcoin transaction.
not Evil – The premier search engine on Tor. Was originally designed to look like a parody of Google. Located at https://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion.
Onionland – A nickname for the Tor network.
OpenBazaar – A decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace that sells a variety of goods for bitcoin and currently runs on the Tor network. Not a “darknet market,” per se, but uses a similar concept.
Operation Onymous – An international law enforcement operation targeting darknet markets and other Tor hidden services in 2014. Supposedly shut down over 400 sites (although many were clone sites).
Outlaw Market – Another of the top darknet markets on Tor. Sells drugs, digital goods, weapons, and other merchandise. Access it at http://outfor6jwcztwbpd.onion/indxx1.php.
Pedo – A slang term on the dark web for “pedophile.” Refers not only to the people themselves, but related sites and materials. (e.g. PedoEmpire)
PedoFunding – A now-defunct website on Tor run by convicted freelance photographer Richard Huckle. Huckle has since been imprisoned, and received 22 consecutive life sentences.
PGP – An encryption standard created by Phil Zimmermann in 1991. The initials stand for “Pretty Good Privacy.” PGP is frequently used to encrypt and decrypt messages on the dark web.
PlayPen – A large child pornography site that, in 2015, was seized by the FBI and used to catch pedophiles who were accessing the site. This has been one of the more controversial cases, as some have questioned the legality of the FBI’s actions.
Qubes – A security-focused operating system that aims to provide security by isolation. One of many distros that can help provide security and anonymity. Official site: https://www.qubes-os.org/
/r/darknetmarkets – A subreddit dedicated to information and discussions about darknet markets.
/r/deepweb – A subreddit dedicated to factual information about the deep web and dark web (as opposed to urban legends).
Red Room – A series of mythological sites on the dark web that supposedly feature live torture and murder (see “Shadow Web”). Entrance to these sites (in theory) requires bitcoin, as well as special credentials, such as a password given by an administrator. They are, more or less, an extension of the urban legend of “snuff films.”
All of the ones that have become public knowledge have turned out to be scams, yet many creepypastas and YouTube videos have continued to perpetuate the myth.
Scam/Scammer – In the context of the dark web, someone who purports to be selling certain goods or services, and doesn’t follow through, or misrepresents their intentions (e.g. a drug vendor who never delivers their goods, or a “financial service” designed for identity theft).
Scream, Bitch! – A hurtcore forum on the Tor network. For those of you thinking of joining, registration is closed.
Scully, Peter – An infamous Australian pedophile and producer of child pornography, most notably the film Daisy’s Destruction, which has achieved internet notoriety. Scully had formed his own production company to make these films, called No Limits Fun.
Shadow Web – A fictitious part of the dark web perpetuated by creepypastas and YouTube videos. Supposedly features live torture and murder shows for those who pay the right price. A number of sites on Tor claim to offer access to the Shadow Web, but they are all scams. Here’s one example: Shadow Web Gateway 2.0
Silk Road – An online black market, considered to be the first modern darknet market. Launched by founder Ross Ulbricht in 2011, the site was shut down by feds in October 2013.
Silk Road 3 – An escrow market that used to go by another name, but adopted the Silk Road brand. There has been much speculation as to whether or not the market will exit scam or will be taken down, but it is still currently running. Located at reloadedudjtjvxr.onion.
SSH – Stands for “secure shell.” SSH is a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services securely over an unsecured network. As with PGP, SSH uses public and private keys to authenticate users.
Suicide Apartment – Members-only social network on Tor (which used to exist on the clearnet). It’s meant to be a site for people who are suicidal and want to find someone else to “leave the world with.” The only way to become a member is to receive a voucher from an existing member.
Tails – A popular Debian-based live operating system that many dark web users install for extra protection. “Tails” is an acronym for “The amnesic incognito live system.”
TLA – An abbreviation for “three-letter agency.” Includes federal agencies such as the CIA, FBI, NRO, NSA, DEA, DHS, and others, who are looked upon with suspicion in the dark web.
Tor – An anonymity network on which many “dark web” sites are hosted. The name “Tor” stands for “the onion router.” Frequently, people who say they’re on the “deep web” are referring to Tor. Download it at https://torproject.org.
TorBay – A Tor-based social network and forum which more or less replaced Blackbook.
Torch – A simple Tor search engine. Located at https://xmh5752oemp2sztk.onion
– A traditional and multisig escrow marketplace on Tor.
Valhalla (Silkkitie) – Originally a Finnish-only darknet market, now available in English. Valhalla is invite-only, and offers both traditional escrow and multisig transactions, 2FA, and PGP. Requires a referral link to register as either a buyer or a vendor.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) – A private network which extends across a public network (internet). Many experts recommend using a VPN in addition to using Tor! (hint hint)
Welcome to Dark Web Links and More! – Link list for Tor hidden services. Notable because they do not accept submissions of CP links, and also feature links to Usenet groups. Access it at https://jdpskjmgy6kk4urv.onion/links.html.
Zion Market – A newer multisig darknet market without user wallets. Buyers have the option of selecting 2-of-2 (the server and vendor have the keys), or 2-of-3 (the buyer also has a key). Uses 2FA, automated PGP, and Bitmessage alerts. Access it at http://zionshopusn6nopy.onion/_reg23.
Zocalo – A former darknet market specializing in marijuana, hash, and various paraphernalia associated with it. Recently closed due to lack of business.
Zork – A 1980’s text-based RPG that is now playable on the Tor network (via the not Evil search engine).
P.S. As I said above, this list is far from finished. So I’ll either add more entries in later, or do a part 2 to the post. Anyhow, hope you had fun, and feel free to add your suggestion