Mike is an average student living in London with average problems for his age. He goes to uni every week, socialize with other students, and pay his monthly rent. At least that what was my first impression about Mike when I met him. When you are young socializing with different people is very easy. My friend David introduced me to Mike when we went to his house saying that they used to work at a construction site together, it was end of the semester, none of us was busy at that moment so we decided to buy some beers and chill. Than, after couple of bottles David and Mike thought that only alcohol was not enough, and to make the evening even better they decided by some cannabis. Personally, I more approve a healthy lifestyle, sometimes allowing myself couple of beers with my mates on a weekend. As you guessed I don’t smoke weed and never used to, however also I don’t criticize other people for their lifestyle. When I first arrived in UK I was surprised how many young students, and even sometimes middle age men and women are ok with smoking marijuana here.
Cannabis and drug culture is undoubtedly became a part of the modern British society today. For instance, every one knows that student loans are barely covers university fees, that is why a lot of students in Britain have to look for the part-time jobs. However, that still doesn’t reassure many students here. London is a very expensive place, and it is very hard to find a normal job with a contract, that is why a lot of students choose drug dealing as a mean to survive in such a big city. A lot of people whom I know here pay for their rent, living costs and even sometimes university fees from selling cannabis to the same students like them at student accommodations. Mike and David were not exception. technically they are criminals according to the British law, but overall they are just normal young lads that do their assignments, hang out with other students and want to get a degree to find a good job. So, coming back to my story David was about to get a weed from the local drug dealer, but Mike said that there was no need for it and pulled from his secret compartment a small bottle with some liquid substance inside. It was dissolved cannabis in alcohol, Mike said that stuff was something that you can’t find from average drug dealer, as it is manufactured in specific place in Britain and could be bought from the dark web. I heard a lot of things about the legendary dark web and the Tor browser, bitcoins, FBI campaigns to shut it down, Wikileaks and many other dodgy things.
Mike told me that he has been using Dark web through Tor browser for two years. He said that there could be found literary anything, but most of the time he used it for purchasing drugs for the cheaper price. Mike told me that once he saw a tor website where anyone could order a murder for 10 000 dollars in a real global organization which does it. He couldn’t show me it because as he said the website went down long time ago, but there are still many other dodgy things, Mike said, that people could have easy access to. I decided to ask Mike to show me what could I see in the dark web and check everything on my own.
Tor browser operates on the principle of “onion routing”. The data passes through several Tor’s servers, before they enter the external world through the output server. Routing between the Tor’s servers is chosen randomly, but only once at the beginning of each connection, if you want to change the chain – update the connection; Data between servers is encrypted. However, the output server by definition has access to unencrypted data sent. Tor is decentralized, and the sources are open, so if FBI, CIA or even the American government want to shot it down they won’t be able to do it as the net does not concentrated in a one place, but through millions of servers.
So I downloaded Android version of the Tor browser on my phone and connected to the Dark web. The connection takes a while as it hiddens your actual IP address and replace it with the fake one. After it writes to ‘ Congratulations, you are now connected to Tor browser, your IP is 126.96.36.199. I click a green button and the browser opens and refers me to the main domain Lookonion.com. After, I have to go to the Hidden Wikipedia as what Mike told me. This is the first site where the newcomer should look. The reason in its frenzied popularity among the users, which is due to very rich content: it contains links to almost all the resources of the dark web. However, as what Mike said many links are trash as important pages are hidden deep in the net.
Here you could find anything that could put you in jail for a long time. For instance, there is a section for financial scamming where you could buy personal bank information from credit and debit cards, paypal accounts, actual debit cards registered on different names and many other things. Another section dedicated for commercial services where you could find hacking services, buy passports for every country, a tremendous amount of drug marketplaces and even websites where you can buy guns. There are also sections for the websites for volunteer freelance contribution and donations, Political advocacy and even section that leads to Wikileaks website.
Mike orders his cannabis drink from a website called GreendragonUK. In order to make a purchase there you have to register first. The registration process doesn’t require to put a personal email account and just asks you to write any nickname and password. Than it sends to the section where you could choose a quantity you needed. After it gives you a bitcoin wallet address or it’s bar code on which you should put required amount of money in order to a purchase be completed. Mike told me that for every transaction tor browser creates a separate bitcoin wallet account that doesn’t leave any traces that could lead to a customer or a seller. The only way to put money on a provided bitcoin money wallet you have to go to the local ATM that scans your bar code, after it you wait for the product to come on your provided adress.
There are many organizations created to fight the dark web. In many countries having Tor browser on your device is illegal, the same legislation also considering Russia today. However, the Dark webs invulnerability is in its decentralized uncontrollable nature.