Over the years, Reddit posts and Youtube videos have painted a picture of the Dark web (or Darknet) as the most terrifying corner of the internet. Your average “exploring the dark web” Youtuber video returns with stories of serial killers and dangerous men who will trace you and attack you just for joining the dark side of the web. But how many of these myths of the darknet and creepypastas are true? Let’s look at which of the top six dark web urban legends are true.
The Dark Web Explained Properly
The Dark web is quite simple and refers to websites you aren’t able to access on a normal browser like Chrome because of the way the network is built. Instead, you’ll need to use a tool such as the Tor Browser to access these websites.
All websites that end in .com or similar are not a part of the darknet/darkweb. Most dark websites will end in .Onion, and the name of the website will generally be a mix of jumbled letters and numbers. More than the majority of the dark web is not used for illegal activities but rather as a safe haven for some and for users to act anonymously.
For example, Russia heavily regulates and restricts typical websites that don’t follow their narrative. VPNs don’t work as a solution in Russia. Therefore, millions of Russians use the Tor Browser as a method to circumvent the censorship.
Websites like The New York Times have their own darknet versions, which looks like this: https://www.nytimesn7cgmftshazwhfgzm37qxb44r64ytbb2dj3x62d2lljsciiyd.onion/
There are some dodgy websites filled with drugs, weaponry, and, sadly, a lot of child pornography on the dark web. But let’s look at some other urban legends you’ve probably heard of.
Are Dark Web Red Rooms Real?
No. Red Rooms are possibly the most famous myth around the Dark Web and is popular enough to bring us films like Netflix’s Squid Games and a unique scene in the Purge movies.
If you don’t already know, a “Red Room” is the concept that rich people will pay great amounts of cryptocurrencies for the opportunity to watch a murder live on video. The richer of the few can allegedly request certain torture methods as a homeless man/ trafficked women’s life fades away. This would all be streamed on some exclusive dark web site.
Youtubers and Redditers bring up many videos speaking about how they’ve “stumbled apon” these red rooms only to be horrified, which brings me to the first point.
Stumbling onto any .onion website is… extremely unlikely. It’s not like some pop-up ad you get on the clear net where you enter some porn website without any intention.
But even if this were true… the entire concept of streaming live videos on the dark net is extremely unlikely. Traffic on the Tor Browser is unique in a way that the community using it supports the entire system. This means that little infrastructure and unique routing steps needed before accessing any website will slow down drastically.
Your average website will take a solid 40 seconds to load up any .Onion website. Then there are additional complications with creating live streams while remaining anonymous.
I’m not saying it’s impossible that some sort of Red Room has ever existed, and I only hope it hasn’t. But if it were to be real, you wouldn’t find it on the dark web. It’s more likely to be streamed through a unique app or a clearnet website.
Does Using The Dark Web Makes You A Target?
The idea that simply using the dark web makes you an immediate target is largely a misconception and fueled by exaggerated portrayals in media and creepypastas. In reality, the dark web gets used by atleast 2.7 million users daily, and if anything, it’s harder to be traced and made a target since you’re using the Tor browser.
Almost all of these users are there for legitimate reasons, such as accessing information in countries with strict internet censorship, protecting their online privacy, or conducting research on various topics.
Just like on the clearnet (the normal internet we use every day), most people aren’t targeted for no reason. If you are using the dark web as an average user and in a legal manner, you are unlikely to be targeted by anyone.
The FBI (and other law enforcement) is the most likely to monitor users on the dark web. That being said, agencies are primarily focused on identifying and apprehending those involved in criminal enterprises on the dark web rather than focusing on innocent users.
Can You Buy Mystery Boxes On The Dark Web?
Perhaps you’ve seen a video like this before
It is possible to purchase a mystery box as such on the dark web, and they can fetch some hefty prices. The prices of these boxes range from $50 to as much as $3,000.
You can find “mystery boxes” being advertised and sold on the darknet markets. These mystery boxes are marketed as packages containing unknown and random items, adding an element of surprise and intrigue to the purchase. The allure of mystery boxes lies in the excitement of not knowing what you will receive, which can range from harmless novelties to potentially illegal or dangerous items.
The items in these boxes will usually be worth only a fraction of the price you’re paid, and you’ll need to find a seller that’s well-rated, as there are many scam vendors out there. While the actual options of purchasing these mystery boxes are legit, the contents inside can be up for your own interpretation.
Generally, the contents inside will be made to look dodgy and have different items inside to make it a thrilling experience. Many have locked iPhones and sometimes “Blood” on items to make it look as if it’s come from some criminal scene in which the seller took part. Realistically these are just done to make the buyers enjoy their experience. The vendor may add illegal items to the box but unlike some videos out there with fake boxes. It’s pretty much assured the vendor isn’t going to do research on you and target you in their process. It’s not worth the time.
Note: Purchasing anything on the darknet markets poses serious risks, as you have no way of knowing the true identity or intentions of the sellers. Moreover, receiving a package containing illegal or harmful items could lead to legal consequences.
Can You Really Find A Hitman-For-Hire On The Dark Web?
In short, yes… but it’s a complicated one. Almost every hitman-for-hire service out there is either a honeypot (FBI run) or a scam to take your money. We’ve seen countless arrests of individuals who tried hire a Hitman on the darknet, only to be scammed of $5,000-$20,000.
It’s a tale as old as time, and even the found of the darknet’s most famous marketplace, the Silk Road, paid $730,000 to a personal hitman. This hitman turned out to be a cop who never carried out any service.
This Russian article for 2019 is possibly the only case where a legit hitman was hired. There are dozens of assassination/ hitman darknet websites out there, but figuring out which is real and which isn’t is borderline impossible.
Almost every darknet marketplace does not allow such services a service. There is a sort of darknet etique out there that bans items like CP, fentanyl, prostitution, and hitman-for-hire services.
When looking at various hitman websites, we found that many refused to attack minors, and pricing changes according to the type of target. Most websites have extremely poor English, which doesn’t surprise us. If you do any due diligence, you should be able to see they’re scams. Some sites we looked at would provide news articles of some “accident” or murder in the newspaper, but after extra research, often a gang member close by would have been arrested for said crime.
So it’s possible, but not something anyone would count on. Hitman websites are there to take your Bitcoin/Monero and run as soon as possible. Atleast 99.9% of the time.
Is Human Trafficking Common On The Dark Web?
Yes, human trafficking is sadly a major issue worldwide. Human trafficking is home to over 40 million victims and is the second-largest criminal industry in the world (drug trafficking being number one). As explained previously, much of the darknet is used for some illicit goods and services… but here’s where we enter some of the purest evils.
Below is an example of one individual going into detail on possible tracking services they provide.
There are hundreds of websites that provide child sexual abuse material (CSAM), human trafficking, and pornography on the darknet. It is a grave violation of human rights and, sadly, the trend has only increased as the digital age progresses. Governments are fighting to take these platforms down consistently, but it’s not a simple fix.
Some evidence points to social media platforms as a means to target possible victims and forcing them into exploitation services. It’s mind-blowing, but CP is a major market that millions of individuals enjoy. While CP material itself isn’t human trafficking, it’s often the result of trafficking children for exploitation.
Some services include escort services, kid rentals, virgins for sale, and more. There are millions of people who are living a nightmare for the $150 billion industry.
The Darknet is more often than not used without any bad intention behind it. However, there are some horrible acts that do take place with the help of The Onion Router. Movies, Youtubers, and bored Redditers have painted a picture of the darkweb in an unusual light. The good news is it’s not as scary as it sounds, but it still offers some disturbing services and goods.
Hey there, I’m a dark web geek who’s been around for the last 8 years. More precisely, I’m livedarknet’s senior content writer who’s been writing about darknet marketplaces, tutorials, and cybersecurity stuff for educational purposes.