Type of site
Agora was a darknet market operating in the Tor network, launched in 2013 and shut down in August 2015.
Agora was unaffected by Operation Onymous, the November 2014 seizure of several darknet websites (most notably Silk Road 2.0).After Evolution closed in an exit scam in March 2015, Agora replaced it as the largest darknet market.
In October 2014 to January 2015, the art collective !Mediengruppe Bitnik explored darknet culture in an exhibition in Switzerland entitled The Darknet: From Memes to Onionland, displaying the purchases of the Random Darknet Shopper, an automated online shopping bot which spent $100 in Bitcoins per week on Agora. The aim was to examine philosophical questions surrounding the darknet, such as the legal culpability of a piece of software or robot. The exhibition of the robot's purchases, a landscape of traded goods that included a bag of ten 120 mg Ecstasy pills "with no bullshit inside" (containing 90 mg of MDMA), was staged next-door to a police station near Zürich.
In August 2015 Agora's admins released a PGP signed message announcing a pause of operations to protect the site against potential attacks that they believe might be used to deanonymize server locations:
Recently research had come [sic] that shed some light on vulnerabilities in Tor Hidden Services protocol which could help to deanonymize server locations. Most of the new and previously known methods do require substantial resources to be executed, but the new research shows that the amount of resources could be much lower than expected, and in our case we do believe we have interested parties who possess such resources. We have a solution in the works which will require big changes into our software stack which we believe will mitigate such problems, but unfortunately it will take time to implement. Additionally, we have recently been discovering suspicious activity around our servers which led us to believe that some of the attacks described in the research could be going on and we decided to move servers once again, however this is only a temporary solution.
At this point, while we don't have a solution ready it would be unsafe to keep our users using the service, since they would be in jeopardy. Thus, and to our great sadness we have to take the market offline for a while, until we can develop a better solution. This is the best course of action for everyone involved.
After the closure of Agora, most activity moved over to the darknet market AlphaBay, lasting until its shutdown by law enforcement in July 2017.
This is not to be confused with Agora Road (which is a completely different website)
The deep web, invisible web, or hidden web are parts of the World Wide Web whose contents are not indexed by standard web search-engines. The opposite term to the deep web is the "surface web", which is accessible to anyone/everyone using the Internet. Computer-scientist Michael K. Bergman is credited with coining the term deep web in 2001 as a search-indexing term.
A dark net or darknet is an overlay network within the Internet that can only be accessed with specific software, configurations, or authorization, and often uses a unique customized communication protocol. Two typical darknet types are social networks, and anonymity proxy networks such as Tor via an anonymized series of connections.
Tor is free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication by directing Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays in order to conceal a user's location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity to the user: this includes "visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms". Tor's intended use is to protect the personal privacy of its users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities unmonitored.
Silk Road was an online black market and the first modern darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs. As part of the dark web, it was operated as a Tor hidden service, such that online users were able to browse it anonymously and securely without potential traffic monitoring. The website was launched in February 2011; development had begun six months prior. Initially there were a limited number of new seller accounts available; new sellers had to purchase an account in an auction. Later, a fixed fee was charged for each new seller account.
The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets: overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access. Through the dark web, private straphanger networks can communicate and conduct business anonymously without divulging identifying information, such as a user's location. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by web search engines, although sometimes the term deep web is mistakenly used to refer specifically to the dark web.
Ross William Ulbricht is an American best known for creating and operating the darknet market website Silk Road from 2011 until his arrest in 2013. The site was designed to use Tor for anonymity and bitcoin as a currency. Ulbricht's online pseudonym was "Dread Pirate Roberts" after the fictional character in the novel The Princess Bride and its film adaptation.
OpenBazaar is an open source project developing a protocol for e-commerce transactions in a fully decentralized marketplace. It uses cryptocurrencies as medium of exchange and was inspired by a hackathon project called DarkMarket.
Operation Onymous was an international law enforcement operation targeting darknet markets and other hidden services operating on the Tor network.
Evolution was a darknet market operating on the Tor network. The site was founded by an individual known as 'Verto' who also founded the now defunct Tor Carding Forum.
AlphaBay Market was an online darknet market which operated on an onion service of the Tor network. It was shut down after a law enforcement action as a part of Operation Bayonet against it in the United States, Canada, and Thailand, reported 13 July 2017. The alleged founder, Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian citizen born on 19 October 1991, was found dead in his cell in Thailand several days after his arrest; suicide is suspected.
TheRealDeal was a darknet website and a part of the cyber-arms industry reported to be selling code and zero-day software exploits.
A darknet market is a commercial website on the web that operates via darknets such as Tor or I2P. They function primarily as black markets, selling or brokering transactions involving drugs, cyber-arms, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids, and other illicit goods as well as the sale of legal products. In December 2014, a study by Gareth Owen from the University of Portsmouth suggested the second most popular sites on Tor were darknet markets.
DeepDotWeb was a news site dedicated to events in and surrounding the dark web featuring interviews and reviews about darknet markets, Tor hidden services, privacy, bitcoin and related news. The website was seized on May 7, 2019 during an investigation into the owners' affiliate marketing model, in which they received money for posting links to certain darknet markets.
The Hub is a discussion forum on Tor hidden services on the dark web focused on darknet market reviews, cryptocurrency and security.
Deep Web is a 2015 documentary film directed by Alex Winter, chronicling events surrounding Silk Road, bitcoin and politics of the dark web.
Atlantis was a darknet market founded in March 2013, the third such type of market, concurrent with The Silk Road and Black Market Reloaded. It was the first market to accept Litecoin.
The Russian Anonymous Marketplace or RAMP was a Russian language forum with users selling a variety of drugs on the Dark Web.
The Tor Carding Forum (TCF) was a Tor-based forum specializing in the trade of stolen credit card details, identity theft and currency counterfeiting. The site was founded by an individual known as 'Verto' who also founded the now defunct Evolution darknet market.
Dread is a Reddit-like dark web discussion forum featuring news and discussions around darknet markets. The site's administrator goes by the alias of 'HugBunter'.