Hard-to-Find Onion Links

In a familiar circumstance, someone on r/deepweb had suggested that the “really dark stuff” wasn’t something you could find on public link lists or search engine results on Tor. People often make such statements, but they rarely back them up with proof.

Still, to give them the benefit of the doubt – if you remember the site All Onion Services, which doesn’t appear to be online anymore, that site listed every onion service, even private ones and ones that were offline. In the case of private onion services, it’s true that they can’t be accessed by everyone, as described on Matt Traudt: Creating Private V3 Onion Services. Only those that have the private keys can access these sites, and even if someone else attempts to use the site, it will still appear as though it’s offline.

Even so, just because a site is private, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has sick and disturbing content on it. It could just as easily be a forum, chat room, or blog that the owner doesn’t want made public. Some forget that Tor is used for sharing secretive information (sites like SecureDrop and GlobaLeaks are also available over Tor). Also, there are a number of darknet markets that require an invite code to register, which is done in an attempt to weed out law enforcement and scammers. If you use OnionShare, as well, that creates a private onion service for sharing files; like the others, it requires a private key to access.

To find such “secretive” links, theoretically, one would have to be given the link by a person they knew, if it weren’t indexed by the search engines, etc. (private onion sites wouldn’t be). A Reddit post from back in 2016 entitled My visits to the darkest sites on the deep web supposedly talked about really disturbing sites that they found via conversations in Tor chat rooms. I tend to disbelieve these stories most of the time now, although there are still some horrible things that take place on Tor and other darknets.

A good real-life example of such sites would be the ones discussed in Eileen Ormsby’s book The Darkest Web. One of the sites in question was Hurt2TheCore, a hurtcore site managed by a young man named Matthew David Graham, also known as Lux, and who was also associated with the infamous Peter Scully. Contrary to what you might think, this site was on public link lists and search engine results. It makes sense that if you’re running a site for profit, regardless of how horrible it is, that you’d want it to be discoverable by others.

This is why some sites that you’d expect to be on the “dark web” are, ironically, on the clearnet, as mentioned in the post What Was the Nth Room? (Disturbing Content, NSFW). In that case, it was on Telegram rather than Tor. Just about everything that you’d expect to find on Tor is also on the clearnet (drugs, carding, hacking forums, whistleblowing, illegal pornography). The main difference with Tor is its anonymity factor.

While it’s unconventional, if you really want to discover a lot of onion links, you can start your own Tor hosting service. In that case, you’d see any of the onions that were registered using your site. Daniel Winzen used to run a service like this for Tor. He still has an onion link list (clearnet site) that’s somewhat similar to the now-defunct Fresh Onions.

Alternately, if someone wants to start up Fresh Onions again, the repository used for the Torscraper/Fresh Onions program is still on GitHub: freshonions/torscraper. As mentioned on another post, it pulls onion links from a number of different sources, including WhatWeb, and the original site used to give the online status of whichever links it displayed.

All that being said, if you have some way to find these “secret” or “hard-to-find” onion links, let me know in the comments. Advice is always welcome here. Maybe someone needs to make a new All Onion Services site?

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Have you heard of the dark web? Simply put, it's the "hidden internet" built on networks like Tor. "Secrets of the Dark" chronicles my dark web experiences, but is also aimed at demythologizing it and teaching about it. Want to reproduce one of the "horror stories"? Contact me at ciphas@protonmail.com.

Categories Dark Web, Private Onion Sites, Red RoomsLeave a comment

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