The internet has proven a hugely advantageous advancement in technology.
Creating not only a world where we can buy just about anything with a single click, but also communicate with others all across the globe with considerable ease.
Something we were all beyond grateful for in March of 2020.
However, the internet can sadly be a dangerous endeavor, particularly the part of the internet known as "the dark web", where one's identity and locations remain anonymous.
Whether people find themselves on the dark web, primarily used for illegal, under the table operations, they often tend to find themselves in dangerous situations.
Some being far more terrifying than others.
Redditor BusinessOnion was curious to hear cases when people found themselves in truly dangerous situations after visiting the dark web, leading them to ask:
Dark Web users of Reddit, was there ever a point in your use that you felt you were genuinely in danger? What happened?
It's Not As Dark As You Might Think...
"I've used the dark web once or twice."
"Scariest thing was when my screen went black for a few moments and turned back on."
"Wasn't anything big, just my display cable f*cking up, but it did give me the creeps."
"As for dark or disturbing sh*t, I've only found a list of random addresses."
"The dark web really has a lot of stigma associated with it."
"For the most part it's just people curious about the dark web or people trying to scam you or sell you drugs."
"You have to do a lot of looking to find the really f*cked up stuff."
"You're more likely to find dark web type crap on Reddit or YouTube than the actual dark web."- SkippyDingleCha1k
A Case For Legalizing It?
"I once bought a bit of weed and I received a blackmail letter threatening me with awful things, like sending CP and calling the police, if I didn't send 1 btc, $1000 at the time."
"I was scared sh*tless but nothing ever happened."
"Always check the reviews before buying anything!"- noddintestudine
"A friend of mine used to use Silkroad on the Darknet when Bitcoin was $10 a pop."
"He placed at least 100 orders through it and never had any issues."
"It's a shame he didn't keep all the Bitcoin he bought because he would have been a millionaire now."- darktone2
Because Of The Billing Address?
"I was trying to buy those super cool laser pointers and I got a random message saying I know where you live."
"I noped out of that site straight away."- ThickCactus85
Being Caught May Have Been Less Dangerous?
"In college some friends and I ordered a 100 sheet of acid, using bitcoin, to our college P.O. Boxes."
"We got pretty terrified when it didn’t arrive when it should’ve."
"We thought it was found by USPS, our own mail service, or the DEA; we were paranoid."
"Turns out they just shipped it later than they said."
"We got our 100 tabs but that was a VERY stressful week and a half for all of us."- dasHeftinn
Important Things To Consider
"Remember that the person you just bought drugs from knows, your address, that you have drugs in your house. There's probably evidence of dark web use in your finances/computer/trash."
"They can rat you out with impunity just because they're feeling malevolent."
"They also could just get caught and be careless with destroying ex customer information, so it hangs over my head to this day."- 8v1hJPaTnVkD7Yf
"Came across a chan style site."
"Every post was about trains."
"Wouldn't say I felt in danger, but i felt so out of the loop that i was missing something that I just got off."- CreekKraken
There's Always A Chance...
"Had a buddy who used to order weed."
"The distributer got busted and the postal service let him know there was a suspicious package for him."
"He could either pick it up or it would be destroyed."- tha_t0dd
You Can't Trust Anyone...
"My friends and i were once ordering some green off the dark web."
"On the way, we saw a dude selling cyanide."
"Don't ask me how I got it."
"Don't tell me what you'll use it for."
"Violation of either condition will void the sale."- bluejaywhey
I own a fairly rare car that had a rare error code. I looked it up on Google and there was only one other person on the car maker's forum that had the same error. And this guy took months and months going back and forth between car shops and the forum thread to try to get the issue fixed. Everyone on the forum was pitching in to try to help him. So I kept going through this long forum thread to try to figure out if he ever fixed it. And suddenly there's no more replies from the guy.
Everyone was scratching their heads for a while. We thought he had maybe gotten the issue fixed and didn't bother to update us on it. Then one day, a news article popped up about a really rich guy who died in a Thai jail cell. And then we connected the two stories and they matched up. The same make and model of the car in the news article matched up with his car. And they were both claiming to be in Thailand at the time.
So what happened was that that same guy who was still talking on the forums got raided by the Thai police around the same time he stopped replying to the forum. Turns out that he was running one of the biggest dark web marketplaces where drugs were being sold and exchanged. It had something like $1 million in revenue per day and he was hiding out in Thailand while living in luxury. They found him dead in his jail cell a few days later.
I was a casual orderer of the dark web for awhile and got pretty big into it and started buying slightly bulky packages. If you knew the markets for awhile then you would know one called Alphabay was the best of the best “the amazon of drugs and fraud” would be its best description.
However it went down mysteriously one day and everyone assumed the owners just scammed everyone for their bitcoin(partially true) but in the background it was actually seized the DEA. Everyone flocked to a new site called Hansa which had some sketchy design features but it was the next best alternative.
Turns out the Dutch police took over the site and with cooperation of multiple governments ran a drug distribution onion site with over a million dollars of transactions for around a month. They were gathering information from unsuspecting users(including me) who bought with faulty security practices.
Now this is where I started freaking out imagine trafficking drugs through the mail and the attorney general at the time Jeff Sessions makes a speech live on television that he was going to crack down and explicitly explains how f**ked everyone on Hansa was because they have been gathering data for over a month. And in a big move closes the site and puts up a banner in its place saying everyone who has purchased will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law during his live speech.
I was sh*tting myself for a month as many arrests did occur but luckily I guess I wasn’t important enough and nothing happened to me.
Illusion of Privacy
Yeah the hitmen stuff tends to be 99% fake. I leave the 1% of wiggle room since theres always new sites popping up. Largely it's a scam to continually extort money from you. I've also not heard of a 100% real Red Room. Everything else is pretty real tho.
To me, the scariest stuff is the stolen logins being sold. Someone could straight up buy your PayPal if it was ever compromised. That an access to home security cameras and stuff. Privacy online is an illusion.
don’t frequent it a lot but once i accidentally left my browser in full screen and a stranger in a chat room asked me if my curved monitor was nice, freaked me out a bit
Webcam turned itself on once. That was scary.
I immediately unplugged it and my network cable, ran 3 complete scans of my system for malware and viruses. Found nothing.
Hasn't happened since.
This happened to one of my friends, he said the camera turned on and he was redirected to another website where he saw his own face and some kind of official seal with and eagle on the side, he didn't read what any of that said because he shut down his PC as fast as he could.
He was really quiet and anxious for the next days I saw him at school, the first day he looked very scared and even looked pale, this was what prompted me to ask what happened.
I actually learned how to access the dark web by listening to NPR. They had a segment where an author who was writing a book about it basically gave step by step instructions on how to do it. I did everything he said and, by golly, it worked.
Truthfully, it was pretty underwhelming. Mostly just drugs and counterfeit items (passports, money, etc.). I did find some weapons with the serial numbers scratched off (pistols and shotguns), but nothing that would start World War 3. I also saw a couple ads for hitmen, but they seemed pretty hokey and were most likely, undercover cops.
I never felt in danger, but I have never gone back because there's nothing I really want from there. No government agents have kicked down my door, either.
You might want to stop and think when you go on the internet to illegally buy something with hopes of not getting caught if what you're doing is a good idea.
After all, Black Mirror uses our current reality as its biggest source of inspiration.