Dark Web and Cryptocurrencies

The Dark Web #

Internet routing #

  • The ideal: anarchism; “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it”
  • In reality: a few centralized providers maintain infrastructure for all internet communications
    • A LOT of traffic flows through the US
    • NSA saw this as an opportunity for surveillance
  • Also: China’s censorship is extremely effective!
    • Can do blocking on traffic that leaves Chinese servers
    • A solution has been to use VPNs, though blocking tech has gotten better

The Onion Router (TOR) #

  • Web browser that communicates (encrypted) with a series of nodes that forward traffic, eventually to exit node and to unencrypted open internet
  • TOR is in an arms race with the PRC; PRC tries to shut down TOR access

.onion services #

  • Traffic encrypted in layers, each node in the network removes a layer of encryption
  • Example: The Silk Road, online drug marketplace
    • This got shut down by the FBI in 2013