The internet rules over almost everything in our day-to-day lives. But do we truly know it?
Is there something that lies beyond, invisible to us?
Yes, there is! The dark web is a major part of the internet. It consists of online content within overlay networks that are inaccessible by conventional browsing methods like search engines and requires specific software, configurations and authorizations to access it.
As the name suggests, a lot of shady activity takes place on the dark side of the internet. Hackers thrive within this space, and they’re always selling their hacked information to anyone on dark web markets who is interested.
Your personal information might be listed for sale without you even realizing that you got hacked. This can be prevented from occurring by simply being careful with your data online.
But more often than usual, most people ignore even the most basic of safety precautions.
The dark web is both a fascinating and perverse place, where one can store important information invisible to most of today’s online users.
Anonymous browsers like Tor are used generally to navigate this dark side of the web.
Since most dark web sites exist on encrypted networks, Tor users can exchange sensitive illicit information and goods without worrying about anybody snooping on them.
This anonymous nature has both merits and demerits depending on how people utilize the unique power of the dark web.
Whistleblowers, for instance, can pass on information anonymously, or information and literary works banned by oppressive governments on the mainstream internet can be accessed by those who wish to attain them.
Sadly, today dark web users often use the network for more nefarious reasons. Some of these activities include hidden Bitcoin services, commercial markets for illegal drugs, software exploits for sale and even weapons transactions.
Hackers and Their Toys
Many hackers dwell on the dark web where they sell their services to anyone who has the interest and financial capability to buy them. Hackers can easily steal personal information from online users by using a number of different tools.
The RAT or Remote Access Trojan is one such popular hacking tool. This particular program hides itself in legitimate software. Once the software has been installed, the malicious program takes over and grants access of the user’s system to the hacker.
There are various other hacking tools like Angler exploit kits, which are kept hidden within websites. They search for weaknesses in computer security before installing any malicious programs.
With intelligent tools such as these, hackers can easily gain access to your personal information if you’re not careful.
Selling Access to Calls, Texts and Location?
Perhaps you’ve heard of SS7 but it is more likely that you haven’t. It is a secret network utilized by cellphone companies to route calls.
It’s a closed network complete with information pertaining to your calls and, once accessed, a hacker can easily get your location.
Access to this network is actually being sold on dark web sites for just $150 a month through anonymous web browsers such as Tor. A hacker who goes by the name of Interconnect0r has recently been selling access to this network to anyone interested.
One can get information on a particular individual’s call records and location for a low rate, whereas $250 will grant the buyer the ability to intercept phone calls and text messages.
For a premium price of $500, anyone can get full access to SS7 through the dark web. Users who pay $5,500 are said to be given enough to start their own services.
Though there have been reports claiming this is a spam scheme, nothing has been proven yet.
This network in particular has been plagued with vulnerabilities for many years and yet nothing seems to be done to correct them.
Back in 2014, it was demonstrated how the SS7 network can be abused to track an individual’s location and how calls and texts can be intercepted.
In 2016, the vulnerabilities of this network were again to track the location of a well-known congressman, Ted Lieu, for the popular CBS show 60 Minutes.
An official letter was sent to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about the need to fix the various issues plaguing the SS7 network by Senator Ron Wyden and Rep. Lieu. Sadly, it seems that such concerns have fallen on deaf ears and the issues persist even today.