Last updated
DeepDotWeb Logo (2017).png
Type of site
Technology news and information
Available in English
OwnerTal Prihar, Michael Phan
LaunchedOctober 2013
Current statusSeized

DeepDotWeb was a news site dedicated to events in and surrounding the dark web featuring interviews [1] [2] and reviews about darknet markets, [3] [4] [5] 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. [6] On which they were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. In March 2021 site administrator Tal Prihar pleaded guilty to his charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.


Coverage has included darknet market drug busts, [7] [8] pedophile crowdfunding, [9] [10] the details of hacking of darknet markets, [11] [12] as well as the diversification of markets such as TheRealDeal selling software exploits. [1] [2]

Site features include blacklisted markets, [13] comparisons, and reviews.

In May 2015, McAfee covered a free ransomware -as-a-service called 'Tox' hosted somewhere on the dark web [14] whose developers gave an interview to DeepDotWeb. [15]

Domain seizure

Lock screen when opening the page Blocked Deep Dot Web.png
Lock screen when opening the page

On May 7, 2019, the and its sister .onion domain were redirected to a Domain Seizure notice. The notice was presented by the FBI and prominently displayed the logos of EUROPOL and numerous affiliate law enforcement agencies, including the British National Crime Agency and the German Bundeskriminalamt. The Israeli police alleged that the owners of DeepDotWeb had been receiving Bitcoin in exchange for links to black market sites on the deep web. [6]

Criminal charges

In May 2019 site owners, Tal Prihar and Michael Phan were indicated in United States court, each on one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to the United States Department of Justice, DeepDotWeb received about $8.4 million in kickbacks from purchases of fentanyl, firearms, hacking tools, and other contraband on Darknet marketplaces when it was in operation in the form of bitcoin which was later worth about $15.5 million. The owners then transferred the kickback payments from the DeepDotWeb bitcoin wallet to other bitcoin accounts and bank accounts under the control of shell companies and their personal accounts. According to the Department of Justice, while DeepDotWeb was in operation a total of 23.6 percent of all orders completed on AlphaBay involved DeepDotWeb. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]

An infographic of how DeepDotWeb conducted its affiliate marketing operation by referring users to darknet marketplaces according to the United States Department of Justice How DeepDotWeb Profited by Referring the General Public to Darknet Marketplaces.jpg
An infographic of how DeepDotWeb conducted its affiliate marketing operation by referring users to darknet marketplaces according to the United States Department of Justice

In March 2021 site administrator Tal Prihar pleaded guilty to his charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. [22]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cybercrime, or computer crime, is a crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. Cybercrime may harm someone's security and financial health.

Silk Road (marketplace) 2011–2014 darknet market known for the sale of illegal drugs

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. Silk Road provided goods and services to over 100,000 buyers.

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 computer 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.

Sheep Marketplace

Sheep Marketplace was an anonymous marketplace set up as a Tor hidden service. It launched in March 2013 and was one of the lesser known sites to gain popularity with the well publicized closure of the Silk Road marketplace later that year. It ceased operation in December 2013, when it announced it was shutting down after a vendor stole $6 million worth of users' bitcoins.

Ross Ulbricht American founder and administrator of darknet marketplace the Silk Road (born 1984)

Ross William Ulbricht is an American who created and operated the darknet market website Silk Road from 2011 until his arrest in 2013. The site used Tor for anonymity and bitcoin as a currency and facilitated the sale of narcotics and other illegal sales. Ulbricht's online pseudonym was "Dread Pirate Roberts" after the fictional character in the novel The Princess Bride and its film adaptation.

Operation Onymous International police operation targeting darknet markets

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.

Doxbin Document sharing website

Doxbin was a document sharing and publishing website which invited users to contribute personally identifiable information, or "dox", of any person of interest. It was previously operated on the darknet as a Tor hidden service, by a person known on the internet as nachash. Since its takedown in 2014, nachash has stepped down and relinquished his ownership to a predecessor that used the username "King Oren" when interviewed. He said in an interview that he is hosting Doxbin on the World Wide Web, as well as on Darknet and Tor hidden service websites. He declined to release the link to either of them, saying, "The people that use the service know how to find it, that's what keeps it secure and out of the reach of incompetent people using it for malice things".


BTC-e was a cryptocurrency trading platform until the U.S. government seized their website. It was founded in July 2011 by Alexander Vinnik and Aleksandr Bilyuchenko, and as of February 2015 handled around 3% of all Bitcoin exchange volume. Until the 25th of July 2017, it allowed trading between the U. S. dollar, Russian ruble and euro currencies, and the bitcoin, litecoin, namecoin, novacoin, peercoin, dash and ethereum cryptocurrencies.


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 dark 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.

Cryptocurrency tumbler or cryptocurrency mixing service is a service offered to mix potentially identifiable or 'tainted' cryptocurrency funds with others, so as to obscure the trail back to the fund's original source. This is usually done by pooling together source funds from multiple inputs for a large and random period of time, and then spitting them back out to destination addresses. As all the funds are lumped together and then distributed at random times, it is very difficult to trace exact coins. Tumblers have arisen to improve the anonymity of cryptocurrencies, usually bitcoin, since the currencies provide a public ledger of all transactions.

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.

Operation Shrouded Horizon

Operation Shrouded Horizon was an 18-month international law enforcement investigation culminating in the July 2015 seizure of Darkode, an online cybercrime forum and black market, and the arrest of several of its members. The case involved law enforcement agencies from 20 countries, led by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with the assistance of Europol, in what the FBI called "the largest-ever coordinated law enforcement effort directed at an online cyber criminal forum".

Carding (fraud) Crime involving the trafficking of credit card data

Carding is a term describing the trafficking and unauthorized use of credit cards. The stolen credit cards or credit card numbers are then used to buy prepaid gift cards to cover up the tracks. Activities also encompass procurement of details, and money laundering techniques. Modern carding sites have been described as full-service commercial entities.

Variety Jones and Smedley (Smed) Charger are pseudonyms of individuals reported to have been closely involved with the founding of the darknet market Silk Road.

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.

Dread (forum) Online discussion forum hosted on the dark web

Dread is a Reddit-like dark web discussion forum featuring news and discussions around darknet markets. The site's administrators go by the alias of Paris and HugBunter.


  1. 1 2 Greenberg, Andy (17 April 2015). "New Dark-Web Market Is Selling Zero-Day Exploits to Hackers". Wired . Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Not Only Drugs: New Market Focuses On Code, 0Days & Exploits". DeepDotWeb. 8 April 2015. Archived from the original on 20 April 2015.
  3. "Utopia Marketplace is now Officially Open!". DeepDotWeb. 3 February 2014. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015.
  4. Vaas, Lisa (13 February 2014). "Silk Road-alike "Utopia" dark-net market seized by Dutch police" . Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  5. "Utopia drugs market forced off Tor by Dutch police". BBC News. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  6. 1 2 Kan, Michael (7 May 2019). "Feds Seize DeepDotWeb for Taking Money From Black Market Sites". PC Magazine . Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  7. Price, Rob (13 Mar 2015). "Crazy photos of the drugs seized in the largest ever Deep Web drugs bust". Business Insider . Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  8. @DeepDotWeb (March 12, 2015). "The Biggest DarkNet Drug related seizure Ever: ~ Vendor "Shiny Flakes" Bust" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  9. Cook, James (14 November 2014). "Paedophiles Have Created A Deep Web Version Of Kickstarter To Crowdfund Child Porn". Business Insider . Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  10. "While Markets Get Seized: Pedophiles Launch a Crowdfunding Site". DeepDotWeb. 9 November 2014. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018.
  11. Love, Dylan (13 February 2014). "Major Online Marketplace Silk Road Hacked — Someone Stole All Its Bitcoins". Business Insider . Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  12. "Silk Road 2 Hacked, All Bitcoins Stolen – $2.7 Miliion". DeepDotWeb. Archived from the original on 13 February 2014.
  13. Swearingen, Jake (2 October 2014). "A Year After Death of Silk Road, Darknet Markets Are Booming" . Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  14. Walter, Jim (23 May 2015). "Meet 'Tox': Ransomware for the Rest of Us" . Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  15. "New DeepWeb Site Offers Free Ransomware Creation". DeepDotWeb. 27 May 2015. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  16. "DeepDotWeb Administrator Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Conspiracy". 2021-03-31. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  17. "Israeli administrator of DeepDotWeb site admits to laundering millions". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  19. "Justice Department charges Deep Dot Web administrators with money laundering". TechCrunch . Archived from the original on 20 May 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  20. "IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA United States of America v. Tal Prihar Michael Phan d/b/a DeepDotWeb, Defendants INDICTMENT COUNT ONE Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering". Archived from the original on 20 May 2021. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  21. "Administrators of DeepDotWeb Indicted for Money Laundering Conspiracy, Relating to Kickbacks for Sales of Fentanyl, Heroin and Other Illegal Goods on the Darknet". 2019-05-08. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  22. "DeepDotWeb boss pleads guilty to laundering millions". CyberScoop. 2021-03-31. Retrieved 2021-03-31.