Darknet search engines exist to allow beginners to find websites. In contrast to the normal Internet, the addresses of the Onion Network read very cryptically and are therefore almost impossible to guess. Anyone who is specifically looking for something is therefore also dependent on search engines in the darknet.
Is the Darknet illegal? Can I surf there?
The Darknet is not illegal per se. The increased anonymity and difficulty for lay people to join has given the parallel Internet a bad reputation. But even in this “parallel” universe, the most popular site is Facebook.
But the New York Times is also accessible on the darknet. Why is that? Even if we in Europe take the free Internet for granted – it is certainly not the case worldwide. Those who still want to inform themselves or exchange information have to rely on the darknet. By the way, if you don’t want to come across as a layman, you’re talking about the “Tor Network”. For comprehension purposes, we use the words synonymously – also in the following.
The private darknet search engine DuckDuckGo – 3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion
Many people know the search engine with the duck from the “normal” Internet. The search engine specializing in privacy, one of the few with its own index, is also available on the Darknet. In Tor Browser it is the default search engine.
The oldest search engine in the Tor network: Torch – cnkj6nippubgycuj.onion
The oldest search engine on the darknet is torch. According to the operators, nothing is censored and user tracking is not supposed to take place either. Best condition to use the search engine.
Suitable for normal internet and darknet: Ahmia.fi – msydqstlz2kzerdg.onion
Ahmia is a special search engine. Similar to DuckDuckGo, it can be accessed via the normal Internet and the Tor network. However, a special feature is that you will be presented with links from the Tor network even if you are not connected to it at all. This is extraordinary.
Inspired by Google’s motto: notEvil – hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion
Even though the Darknet search engine looks like not much design has been put into it, it still serves its purpose. You can search for URLs and titles. In general, one should not expect too extensive functions from search engines in the darknet.
Only online for 3 years: Candle – gjobqj7wyczbqie.onion
The similarity is obvious. However, no search operators or similar functions are desired with Candle. Just words. Some darknet search engines are not yet as advanced as the “official” ones. Often they are simply not online for long.
The only darknet search engine with premium model: Haystak – haystakvxad7wbk5.onion
Haystak – Haystack. Anyone who uses a search engine often has the feeling of trying to find a needle in a haystack. The sophisticated software makes this possible. This is also the case with the Haystak. It has its own index and therefore stands out from other search engines. The software is partly financed via the available Premium model.
In total, only less than 37 darknet stores are still active!
Darknet commerce regularly makes headlines and raises many question marks – but the number of available and accessible darknet stores is continually waxing and waning. In the meantime, there is only talk of 37 larger so-called markets. In February of this year, 59 markets were counted. Places are not always closed on their own motivation.
Darknet stores still make millions in sales!
The Corona pandemic is fueling online commerce. Thus, the exchange of goods for payment on the Darknet is also in good shape. Between $100 million and $175 million is turned over per month on the transshipment sites on the ominous Darknet. High sums. But during lockdowns or restrictions, it is naturally more difficult to maintain personal contact.
So the business with numerous goods, which otherwise cannot be traded on the Internet, works. Even though this faces the risk of being caught, people still risk buying, selling and operating such a platform. Very few darknet stores existed at the beginning of 2015. Purchases could be made on less than 20 platforms.
The laws of the Internet also apply on the Darknet: The Winner-Takes-All
The increasing number of available darknet stores is comparable to the number of short message services, social networks and streaming platforms: There are numerous, but in the end a few crystallize out and become the market leader.
This is the principle that some expect to see in active darknet stores as well. In the past, Silkroad was already the de facto market leader. However, the FBI’s efforts bore fruit at the site and led to the shutdown of the platform. The platforms rarely stand on digital, stable legs. For example, an attack on the darknet hosting service “Freedom Hosting II” took up to a fifth of the services on the darknet offline.
On this issue, the investigative authorities are not asleep. Frenchman Gal Vallerius was arrested in August 2017. He was going to the States for a beard contest. Did so – but was swiftly arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was the operator of the darknet store Dream Market. The investigators’ approach was interesting: 15 out of 17 transactions to auction a “tip jar” resulted in Gal. Reason enough to devote ourselves to further analysis: Based on the writing style on Instagram, it was determined that the username “Oxymonster” must be Gal. As a result, the arrest warrant was issued. He also had to surrender the $700,000 in his wallet.
The Darknet is not illegal and can be used by anyone. However, the Darknet serves criminals as a trading place for crimes and illegal goods. However, this communication and agreement also takes place on the so-called Clear Web.
No, the darknet offers advantages to a wide range of groups of people due to its encrypted and partially obfuscated structure. Journalists, persecuted persons or political opponents thus have the opportunity to access regionally blocked content. The most popular websites on the Darknet are large social networks.
The websites that are exclusively accessible on the Darknet end in .onion. These addresses are very long and contain a large number of characters that cannot be changed. Facebook’s .onion address is facebookwkhpilnemxj7asaniu7vnjj
biltxjqhye3mhbshg7kx5tfyd.onion. For this reason, hardly anyone can remember the Internet addresses. A search engine is therefore all the more important.
The Internet addresses ending in .onion are intended exclusively for the Darknet and can be opened only by a suitable, for example, TOR browser.