The Chinese Darknet
The Darknet, or Dark Web, just saying it seems to emote some strange land filled with dark corners to the great media unwashed. The reality is a little more simplistic, a place where sites can in fact be found through clearnet addresses on pastebin or even searched within the darknet on spider engines. Recently the news has been filled with attacks by China on Tor users in their country to track them as well as efforts to stop Tor altogether from working in their country via the “Great Firewall” Sometimes though we can get a glimpse behind the veil a bit when lurking the darknets of how some Chinese can get through the great firewall as well as give insight into perhaps a non APT criminal element of the digital age in China.
Monday I came across two sites on the darknet that are Chinese in origin and this is something new at least to me thus far. What made them even more interesting was that they were both oriented toward hacking and freedom as we see with the posts above on site 1 as well as hacking and criminal activities as you will see in the images below. Unfortunately for me and perhaps all of you, the site above disappeared Tuesday and I did not have a chance to fully archive it for perusal. What I did see though can be encapsulated into the following bullet points;
- The admin is in Beijing
- The site was a platform for freedom of speech and Tor use as far as I read but there may have been more
- It was php based
- It was trying to show people the how to’s in setting up other sites as well as all of the things above
What I saw of the site intrigued me and I had hoped it would be stable and grow but alas it seems that the Chinese caught on, the admin’s access got cut off, or, maybe they got scared off. I will keep looking for this site to come back though and I hope to get a fuller read on it.
Chinese Darknets and Crime:
The other site that I located Monday is the more unseemly side of the darknet you all hear about every day in the news. The second site that I found is a darker one offering services such as carding and accounts in China for sale. So when you think of China, well most people lately, all they hear is APT! but the reality is that the Chinese are the same as everyone else and you will find both sides of the coin in the darknet as well. Those who want to express themselves by using Tor as a means to that end against an oppressive government, and those looking to make a buck by hacking and crime.
Now I could not locate names for these sites at all and they are not very slick or whacky as many of the other sites on the darknet. These are functional and straight forward sites which I hope to mine some more as time goes on. Who knows, perhaps others will pop up. Actually, I would not be surprised to see people in Hong Kong setting these up or other places in the world trying to get real information to the people of China if they can access it secretly. It seems though that the Chinese government has been quite active in trying to put a stop to this. I hear that in i2p there are more Chinese sites and use. I will have to take a look. For now though, I will keep an eye on these sites.