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Ahmia is a clearnet search engine for Tor's hidden services created by Juha Nurmi.



Developed during the 2014 Google Summer of Code with support from the Tor Project, the open source [1] search engine was initially built in Django and PostgreSQL. It collects the peculiar anonymous identifier called .onion URLs from the Tor network and feeds these to its index except those containing a robots.txt file. [2] The search engine filters out child pornography [3] and keeps a blacklist of abusive services. [4]

The service partners with GlobaLeaks's submissions and Tor2web statistics for hidden service discovery [5] and as of July 2015 has indexed about 5000 sites. [6] Ahmia is also affiliated with Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Rights, an organization that promotes transparency and freedom-enabling technologies. [7]

In July 2015 the site published a list of hundreds of fraudulent fake versions of web pages (including such sites as DuckDuckGo, as well a dark web page). [8] [9] According to Nurmi, "someone runs a fake site on a similar address to the original one and tries to fool people with that" with the intent of scamming people (e.g. gathering bitcoin money by spoofing bitcoin addresses). [10]

Related Research Articles

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 customised communication protocol. Two typical darknet types are social networks, and anonymity proxy networks such as Tor via an anonymized series of connections.


.onion is a special-use top level domain name designating an anonymous onion service, which was formerly known as a "hidden service", reachable via the Tor network. Such addresses are not actual DNS names, and the .onion TLD is not in the Internet DNS root, but with the appropriate proxy software installed, Internet programs such as web browsers can access sites with .onion addresses by sending the request through the Tor network.

Tor (anonymity network) Free and open-source anonymity network based on onion routing

Tor is free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication. The name derived from the acronym for the original software project name "The Onion Router". Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays 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.

DuckDuckGo Internet search engine

DuckDuckGo is an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by showing all users the same search results for a given search term.

The Hidden Wiki

The Hidden Wiki is the name used by several censorship-resistant wikis operating as Tor hidden services that anyone can anonymously edit after registering on the site. The main page serves as a directory of links to other .onion sites.

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.

Tor2web HTTP proxy for Tor hidden services

Tor2web is a software project to allow Tor hidden services to be accessed from a standard browser without being connected to the Tor network. It was created by Aaron Swartz and Virgil Griffith.

Operation Onymous

Operation Onymous was an international law enforcement operation targeting darknet markets and other hidden services operating on the Tor network.

Evolution (marketplace)

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.

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.

Grams is a discontinued search engine for Tor based darknet markets launched in April 2014, and closed in December 2017. The service allowed users to search multiple darknet markets for products like drugs and guns from a simple search interface, and also provided the capability for its users to hide their transactions through its bitcoin tumbler Helix.

The Hub is a discussion forum on Tor hidden services on the dark web focused on darknet market reviews, cryptocurrency and security.

Clearnet (networking) Publicly accessible part of the Internet

Clearnet is a term typically referring to the publicly accessible Internet, the opposite of the term darknet which typically describes the services built on Tor or other anonymity networks, the connection to which is encrypted and anonymized.

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.

Hansa was an online darknet market which operated on a hidden service of the Tor network.

Dream Market Online black market

Dream Market was an online darknet market founded in late 2013. Dream Market operated on a hidden service of the Tor network, allowing online users to browse anonymously and securely while avoiding potential monitoring of traffic. The marketplace sold a variety of content, including drugs, stolen data, and counterfeit consumer goods, all using cryptocurrency. Dream provided an escrow service, with disputes handled by staff. The market also had accompanying forums, hosted on a different URL, where buyers, vendors, and other members of the community could interact.


  1. Greif, Björn (14 July 2015). "Gefälschte .onion-Websites spähen Tor-Nutzer aus". ZDNet. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  2. "Google Can't Search the Deep Web, So How Do Deep Web Search Engines Work? : Networks Course blog for INFO 2040/CS 2850/Econ 2040/SOC 2090" . Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  3. juha (7 September 2014). "Ahmia search after GSoC development" . Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  4. Messier, Ric (2017-07-14). Network Forensics. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN   9781119329183.
  5. "About us" . Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  6. Leyden, John (7 Jul 2015). "Heart of Darkness: Mass of clone scam sites appear". The Register. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  7. "The new search engines shining a light on the Deep Web". The Kernel. 2014-09-28. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  8. MacGregor, Alice (1 July 2015). "Hundreds of Dark Web mirror sites 'booby-trapping' Tor users". Archived from the original on 20 July 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  9. Marwan, Peter (14 July 2015). "Anonymität von TOR-Nutzern durch Fake-Websites gefährdet". ITespresso. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  10. Weissman, Cale Guthrie (July 2, 2015). "Someone is creating fake websites on the dark web to try to lure in and hack people". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-03-07.