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Monthly Archives: January 2013
I happened upon an article in one of the papers this week that touched a subject I had never heard about, here is some of it:
The internet is like an iceberg. The web as we know it – every Google result, all the billions of pages we visit – is just a tiny fraction jutting above the waves. The vast majority of it is invisible to web browsers and the general public. This is known as the ‘dark web’.
Most of this unseen mass of activity is perfectly innocent – paid-for content, sites that require log-ins, academic data, and so on. No one knows exactly how big the ‘dark’ portion is, but it’s estimated to be at least 15 times larger than the web we know, with more than 900 billion pages.
The dark web is a haven for criminal gangs around the world, to whom it offers a secret shop window where everything from child pornography to hard drugs to stolen credit-card details can be bought and sold.
The ‘anonymous’ web browser Tor is used by about 600,000 people a day – and is totally untraceable. Tor ‘bounces’ data between dozens of computers on its way to and from the web, making users effectively invisible.
Financed by the US government, the controversial browser is used by the FBI and championed by advocates of internet freedom. Tor offered a ‘safe’ channel to Egyptian dissidents during the Arab Spring and is used by bloggers in Syria. But it also grants access to a world where the illegal is openly traded.
Using Tor, you can visit special ‘.onion’ sites – a dark domain that is used to host highly illegal marketplaces. The notorious Silk Road site is an open drug market, where you browse and use a ‘checkout basket’, much as you would on Amazon. This week, offers include ‘250 pills of speed’, grams of Afghan heroin and new synthetic drugs.
Users report that contract killers can be hired via other Tor sites – and that fights to the death are a spectator sport. Many transactions are paid for in ‘bitcoins’, an online currency that allows money to be transferred without using banks.
Tor users in the UK openly offer weapons, high-grade cocaine and brides for sham marriages. Cyber criminals also advertise their wares.
One hacker’s .onion site proclaims: ‘I’ll do anything for money. If you want me to destroy some bussiness or a persons life [sic], I’ll do it! I can ruin them financially . . . If you want someone to get known as a child porn user, no problem.’
David Emm, senior researcher at internet security company Kaspersky Lab, said: ‘The “dark market” is the underbelly of the legitimate economy, but it operates in a similar way.
‘If criminals want to trade, they have to have a point of presence. Once you’ve found them, they’ll do business via sites on the “hidden web” or fake email accounts.
‘The key is they’re quite prepared to move. When the corrupt internet service provider Russian Business Network was shut down, a lot of people predicted that was the end of the “dark market”, but they just reappeared elsewhere.’
I am amazed as a webmaster of dozens of sites I had never heard of this before.
I was once on a black hat webmaster forum when I was heavily researching SEO that had sub domains and other addresses they referred to in the private rooms as the ‘dark side’ – but I never had enough site privileges to access them.
It was where you went to access the big link/email spammers and maybe meet naughty folks to take your competitors sites down if you were that way inclined. I wanted to do neither so I never tried so hard to get there.
Reading other stuff on this subject today, I realise now that some of those blokes were using language back then that I assumed meant other stuff. I remember mention of TOR, I assumed it was something like RAR, a lesser-known compression programme or something.
I remember odd mentions of ‘the Onion’ – I thought they meant the satire website of the same name. Duh!
As an experiment today, I did a search of a .onion site directory. I found some, but my browser (Chrome) wouldn’t open any of the links – gave me a page like my internet was down. Although it wasnt. I changed browsers and then I got an error page from my ISP. It seems internet censorship is alive and well but we just don’t know it.
Nowadays, if it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist, right? Wrong!
But what of the 900 Billion pages Google wont or cant index? What an interesting subject……
The TOR browser has a wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOR_(anonymity_network)
As does the DeepNet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Web
Another interesting article I found: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012…net-anonymity/
I have never heard of a domain name ending in .onion
Has anyone else read about this before? Continue reading
To those of us who live in Europe, it is a mystery to us that Americans insist on being a gun-slinging nation obsessed with firearms. Mass shootings in schools and shopping malls are now very commonplace there.
Any Tom, Dick or Harry can have a gun and get himself full of drink and drugs and leap around killing people. And they do.
Americans defend their right to do that under the bizarre “Right to Bear Arms” stuff that is in their Second Amendment.
The same Second Amendment that was written hundreds of years ago, for a different age, and has little relevance today. But they cling to it as might a child with a worn out toy.
To those of us outside looking in, the US does need to drag itself into the current century. It looks like after the Sandy Hook mass shooting, parts of the political machine are finally starting to wake up.
A new assault weapons ban could be introduced any day now in the United States and includes a new $200 TAX on each weapon you already own. Congress went back to work on January 22nd and here is an encouraging quote from Senator Dianne Feinstein about a new assault weapons ban:
“On the first day of the new Congress, I intend to introduce a bill stopping the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of assault weapons as well as large ammunition magazines, strips and drums that hold more than 10 rounds.”
Of course the all powerful NRA (National Rifle Association) in America will do its best to quash any and all legislation on guns. They have a lot of cash, which in America buys political influence.
Eventually guns will be less commonplace in the US. It might not be in my lifetime, because it will take a monumental change in social attitudes, which takes time to engineer. But it will come.
The US is slowly going to be dragged [kicking and screaming] in line with the rest of the first world. It will be a long process.
Just think, in twenty or thirty years, they might be a civilised nation. One where blokes don’t go to the local 7-11 packing heat and the state doesn’t murder people willy nilly as in Death Row. Later, Guantanamo will vanish and unreported torture of foreign nationals will stop. They are taking baby steps right now……
Europeans should remember that the US is only a few hundred years old. Like we Brits were when the Romans were here a thousand or so years ago.
In a few years, the US might be a safe place to visit with family and kids because all the rednecks have had their guns taken away.
One day, maybe their policemen wont need to carry guns and can all wear pointy hats instead. Continue reading
Many men from across the world seek a Russian speaking wife. That might be a woman from Ukraine, Russia or more recently Kazakhstan or Belarus.
But are you the kind of guy a Russian speaking woman wants? Check out the light hearted list below.
I have noticed specific trends of opinion with Russian speaking women about foreign guys and their locations.
American men: They either love the idea of them (and the USA) or hate it. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. Some women love the thought of an American guy and living in the US; some think them stupid, with no history, culture or social skills. Many women complain of unrealistic expectations because men have read mail-order bride sites and expect that every twenty year old Slavic woman will be falling all over an old guy from Kansas. In the real world, with honest women, that doesn’t happen. Many Americans are ‘Keyboard Romeos’ who never book a flight and just want to talk – that pisses women off. Many FSU women who went abroad to be married went to the US though (4000 a year last time I looked), and many remain happy there – so that speaks for itself.
Canadian men: Who? Aren’t they American? Isn’t Canada a state or something? Canada is often seen as part of the US, even though it isn’t. Canadian guys have to get past that. Mention the Queen is my tip. Winters are as cold as Siberia, so no climate attraction. Be a nice guy, make it clear you are not American and maybe they will look you up on Wikipedia.
British men: These women (and many of their country folk) love the UK, London particularly. They call it Londongrad for a reason. However, we are sometimes thought to be unemotional and a bit cold. We call it ‘stiff upper lip’. For the women who don’t like southern Europeans, and who don’t like Americans, the UK is where it is at. We don’t carry the left-over Cold War stigma of Americans, we are closer to the FSU (cheaper to visit Mamma) and are often considered to be gentlemen. We have history, culture and because we are not American, the family approves.
Dutch men: On a par with Brits really in many ways. Often big, tall healthy guys with a decent outlook on life. Many who seek Russian speaking women are computer geeks or gamers who tend to be also quite right wing. Right wing appeals to many of these women. They are seen as good husband and father material.
Australian/NZ men: The bottom of the planet is very far away. Not for women with close family ties who want to visit home often. They are viewed as nice guys and their climate is on their side. For women who like a nice relaxed lifestyle, and who don’t want to visit home too often, and who like sun and not snow, Oz is a perfect choice.
Scandinavian men: They offer a great lifestyle, but it is still cold in winter and full of snow. Might as well be in Russia. Big, healthy, tall guys, many of whom like the gym, appeal to some. Slightly square, drink too much (especially Finns), but overall good guys is what I learned from women.
German/Austrian/Swiss men: As with Scandinavia, they offer a great lifestyle. But winter is cold, and the men are slightly square and unemotional. Way too much funny stuff in cellars going on. A society with many rules (more than the US even). Can be rather sexually perverted given a chance.
Belgian men: Cant decide if they want to speak Dutch, Flemish or French. So indecisive. The women we know who live in Belgium are unhappy. A small place with no identity. Way too many French Fries, Mayonnaise and moustaches.
French men: They imagine France to be romantic, France has many cultural ties with Russia – reality often disappoints. France is over-priced, dirty, the people arrogant, and too many immigrants.
Spanish and Greek men: No money, over-emotional and highly strung. OK for a holiday romance. Not ideal husbands.
Italian men: Like Greek and Spanish, highly strung, can be quite demanding, serially unfaithful, not good fathers and husbands after the novelty has worn off. OK for a holiday romance. However, find a good guy and all is well.
Turks and Arabs: OK for a holiday romance but you wont admit it to your friends. Often violent, Muslim culture incompatible, will hump a hole in a tree given a chance – any hole is a goal! Not husband/father material.
Africans: That isn’t really happening unless a “see what is like” casual hump that is kept pretty secret. Many Russian, American and European guys will eschew women they know slept with an African or other non white. Many guys who enter this endeavour are very right wing. Continue reading