In this latest edition of our Deep Web Serial Series, we bring news from Tor 8 – the most feature-rich onion browser yet. We also take a first look at a clearnet web browser crisscrossing the darknet and cover the fallout from the Alphabay shutdown, the repercussions of which are still being felt today.
Also Read: Russian Industry Association Launches Crypto Certification Program
Tor 8 looks great
The Tor Project has released their latest and greatest browser yet. Tor 8 is a slick-looking beast compared to Tor browsers of yesteryear, in part thanks to its incorporation of Firefox Quantum, which allows for better page rendering and other subtle tweaks. With Tor 8, there’s a new home screen to guide first-time users through the process of connecting to the Deep Web, and there are additional security protections built in. A Tor Circuit button can now be used to switch servers at random, further obscuring users’ connection path.
Tor 8 comes with HTTPS Everywhere and Noscript, and users are recommended to enable these add-ons, as they are essential for maximizing anonymity when browsing the web. While Tor browser is best known as a dark web browsing tool, it can also be deployed as a privacy-friendly clearnet browser that minimizes cookies and other web trackers. Finally, the new and improved Tor makes it easier to bypass firewalls in countries where Internet censorship is prevalent. Its development team explains:
For users where Tor is blocked, we’ve already offered a handful of in-browser bridges to bypass censorship. But to receive additional bridges, you had to send an email or visit a website, which posed a set of problems. To simplify the way you request bridges, we now have a new bridge configuration flow when you launch Tor. Now all you need to do is resolve a captcha in Tor Launcher, and you will get a bridge IP address. We hope that this simplification will allow more people to bypass censorship and browse the Internet freely and in private.
Deep Web gets a Clearnet search engine
Searching the deep web has always been more difficult than with its counterpart clearnet. The lack of a Google darknet is arguably part of its appeal, making onion sites accessible only to those who know what they’re looking for. It was this barrier to entry that ensured that sites like Silk Road were accessible only to technically skilled users in the early days of Bitcoin. The Deep Web has opened up considerably since then, giving up its secrets, and in the same week that Tor released its most user-friendly browser yet, it may be appropriate that a clearnet search engine for the Deep Web be spear. Onionlandsearchengine.com is a simple yet effective tool for generating deep web search results without needing to connect to the deep web first.
US government cleared to seize assets of suspect Alphabay
Long after the Deep Web markets have closed, the fallout continues to make its mark in American courtrooms. The legal feuds of Silk Road, Hansa and Alphabay periodically make headlines, despite the years that have passed since the sites were first seized. As proof of this, consider the decision of a recent U.S. magistrate granting the federal government permission to seize and sell millions of dollars in assets associated with Alexandre Cazes. The well-known Alphabay leader had $ 8 million in assets in his driveway alone at the time of this arrest in a series of high-performance sports cars. Including cryptocurrencies, his total net worth was eventually calculated to be $ 23 million.
Among the most spectacular items in Cazes’ collection was a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 valued at almost $ 1 million with a license plate reading “Tor”. Alphabay’s late boss was certainly not subtle, but despite all his sins, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the 25-year-old who ended up dead in a Bangkok cell as a result of suicide, another unnecessary victim of the war on drugs.
Have you tried the latest Tor browser and if so what do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tor Project, and Twitter.
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