If you’re at all like me, you’ve probably heard of the ‘dark web’ but don’t know much about it. My web browsing is pretty much restricted to a few search engines, social media sites, and… yeah that’s about it. I’m not a very outgoing web surfer. But I am a curious person by nature, so I decided I wanted to take a deep dive into learning more about what the dark web is, what you can find there, and find some examples of things people have bought – legal, illegal, or highly illegal.
So let’s dig right into it.
What is the dark web?
The dark web is a name given to a part of the deep web, which consists of websites that are not indexed by search engines and therefore cannot be found by searching. The deep web sounds a bit like a scary term, but it’s pretty banal overall. It consists of a lot of private information that can technically be found online, like the contents of your email accounts or bank accounts, but you wouldn’t want that stuff to be something another user could google. So any time you check your private bank account online, you’re actually accessing the deep web. Cool, huh? 
The dark web is a part of the deep web, mostly as a collection of encrypted websites, Dropboxes, and subscriber-only databases. It’s not necessarily easy to find yourself on the dark web, and I personally did not try. In order to access it, you need a specific browser, like Tor, due to the private nature of the contents hosted on the dark web.
What can you find there?
The vast majority of the dark web is…actually not all that interesting. It’s been described as amateurish and quite a bit like the early days of the internet, starting in the late 20th century. There are a lot of things you can find and do on the dark web. Some of them are perfectly legal, like opening up an encrypted email account or joining a dark web social network. You can also find guns, drugs, and other illegal items or services for purchase. All of which are generally purchased with cryptocurrency like bitcoin.
There are some pretty dark, horrible parts of the dark web as well. You can hire a hitman, join with terrorist organizations, and as you might have guessed, lots and lots of cops. Let’s talk about some of the things you can find on the dark web.
18 things people found on the dark web
1. The police
I’m going to kick off this list of 30 things you can find on the dark web with: the police. Like anyplace where tons of secret, illegal activities go down, there’s bound to be a few folks in law enforcement scoping things out as well. The FBI, CIA, and NSA have all been confirmed to have a presence on the dark web, and oftentimes, they are laying elaborate traps to nab people who would use the dark web to purchase illegal goods and services and gain access to terrorist organizations. So before you read further, know that if you’re going to try to do something shady online, you run a high likelihood of being caught.
2. Encrypted email accounts
This one doesn’t seem very scary, right? Email addresses can get hacked, wreaking havoc on those who have fallen victim to the practice. Suddenly, a ton of information about you is made available. Not good! There are some encrypted, hidden emails that you can set up, like with Bitmessage or Torbox. These emails can only be accessed from The Orion Router and are extremely secure.
3. Find hidden answers
Have you ever used Yahoo Answers before? It’s a great place to go if you want to ask questions about being pregnant. And the dark web has something similar, but, you know, darker, called Hidden Answers. On Hidden Answers, you can find thorough guides on all sorts of interesting things, like how to survive doomsday, a financial meltdown, society collapse, and climate change. Ok, so it’s a little bit more intense than Yahoo Answers, but it’s also probably a bit higher quality in general.
4. Join a dark web social network
Dark Facebook? Not quite. There are a few social networks on the dark web, and most of them are weird. Operation Genesis is the most well-known one, but there are others as well, depending on your interests. You’ll have to browse around to find them!
5. Website hosting
Right out the gate, we’ll tell you that yes, you can get website hosting on the dark web, but no, you probably shouldn’t. Sites with web hosting sourced from the dark web are less stable and more hackable, and most dark web purchases are made using bitcoin. You take on a lot of risks buying anything from the dark web. We recommend that, if you need web hosting, you should get it from the lighter side of the web.
6. Private search
Duck Duck Go is one of the better search engines out there due to more security and less data mining. You can use Duck Duck Go on the dark web as well, and it’s one of the safest, most secure ways to search.
7. Fake watches
You can find fake stuff in a lot of places. Heck, I’ve seen tons of fake stuff in thrift stores before. The dark web is also full of knockoff stuff. One vendor offered up a fake stainless steel Breitling watch for 1.6 bitcoin, roughly $75,000 USD at current valuation. That’s a lot of money! You need to have a sharp eye for the fake stuff on the dark web. When paying in bitcoin to people you don’t know, well, it’s hard to get a refund.
Hey, remember how I mentioned already that there are a lot of cops on the dark web? If you’re a fan of cocaine, try to temper your excitement a little. Yes, cocaine and other drugs can be found on the dark web. No, you should not try to buy it. One dark web vendor had cocaine for sale at $65 USD per gram, marketing it as +/- 70% purity. Talk about a roll of the dice!
9. Facebook hacking services
Want to know who your partner is sending messages to on Facebook? The dark web might be able to help! As mentioned already, material goods aren’t the only things for sale, but services are as well. One vendor, who went by the name “cyberzen” offers to hack into a Facebook account for the low price of .021 bitcoin with 100% satisfaction guaranteed! But buyer beware – not many guarantees made in the deep web carry much weight.
10. Fake drivers licenses
Want to go for a cruise in the ol’ vehicle but don’t have a driver’s license? The dark web has some options for you, and yes, they are super illegal. You cannot drive without a driver’s license, but you can sure find some convincing fake ones on the dark web. One vendor offered up their fake driver’s license services for just .6 bitcoin. All you have to do is send them your date of birth, name, and photograph and the vendor will do the rest.
11. Psychedelic drugs
Mind-altering, psychedelic drugs are most certainly for sale on the dark web, as are most drugs. It is easy to find both LSD and psilocybe cubensis ‘magic’ mushrooms on the dark web. They range in price and quantity, and quality too most likely. Have I mentioned yet that there are a lot of cops on the dark web?
12. Snuff films
In case you aren’t aware, snuff films are a type of pornographic movie in which actual, real-life murder is committed. Before you get too alarmed, understand that, according to sex columnist Dan Savage, all snuff films are fake. But that doesn’t make consumption of snuff porn okay, as he notes that “the consumption of snuff porn … could create demand for more, which results in the creation of more snuff porn.” Just one of many charming things you can find on the dark web.
Lots and lots of guns. Smith and Wesson revolvers, Glocks, and Cobray M11 guns were all guns I saw being provided by vendors during my research on this piece. There are a lot of firearms on the dark web.
14. Stolen rental cars
Some enterprising folks in the United States took to stealing rental cars and flipping them on the dark web. One vendor writes: “We steal or rent cars from rental companies and sell cars only by a private customer orders. We can get any car. If we can not steal, then let it out (rent) from the rental company and sell you. Order products, give your mobile phone number, transfer the Bitcoin to me. Then within 3-7 days for auto theft and delivered to your city to the district what you need. SMS sent at night to you with the exact location of the auto. The key has been added to the wheel.” Seems legit.
If you’re thinking you need a little more testosterone in your life, one vendor on the dark web will gladly sell you some. A 10ml vial of testosterone cypionate was for sale for .17 bitcoin, but uhh, definitely would discourage anyone from buying hormones from the deep web.
16. Hire a hitman
Purported hitmen are for sale on the dark web, offering up their services for as much as $20,000. The consensus here is that these postings are either scammers or the police. Did I mention that there’s lots of police on the dark web? Because there are definitely lots of police who are good at catching folks doing illegal things. Don’t do this. Also, murder is bad.
17. Hate groups
The dark web is a great place for hate groups and terrorist organizations to go to communicate. It’s super safe and super secure. ISIS was found using the deep web to communicate at one point, and they often use TOR sites for their propaganda because they’re harder to take down. White supremacists are also known to use the deep web.
Well now, this doesn’t sound so bad! But like most things in the dark web, it gets pretty weird. One such weird game is called Sad Satan, which is described as “unnerving” and “perplexing.” It’s a pretty banal game, by all accounts, but the screeching sounds and hidden arcane images leave you feeling a little bit…weird. Sad Satan may not be the game for you.
19. Pretty much the worst things you can imagine
There are a number of things I kept off the above list because they could be triggering, but consider this a trigger warning for abuse and other terrible things contained in the contents below.
The dark web is where you can go to find the worst that humanity has to offer. It’s said that you can find Peter Scully’s child abuse videos, 8Chan’s Baphomet Subboard, which is used to organizing doxxing, and Cruel Onion, which honors the adage “if you can think of it, it’s probably a fetish.”
There is also violence. Lots and lots of violence. Nearly endless videos and images depicting every act of violence imaginable. There are also things called “red rooms,” which are live feeds of people being harmed in different ways.
Needless to say, the dark web can be a pretty freaky place. Proceed with caution, or to be safe, don’t even bother.
- “Dark Web.” Investopedia. Andrew Bloomenthal. June 17, 2021.
- Instant Checkmate
- “23 outrageous things you can buy on the Dark Web.” My Broadband. July 22 2015.
- “15 Messed Up Things Found On The Dark Web.” The Talko. Robin Zabiegalski. March 27, 2017.
- “SL Letter of the Day: Fear Ol’ Dad.” Portland Mercury. Dan Savage. November 8, 2011.
- “The Most Disturbing Things You’ll Find on the Dark Web.” Ranker. Christopher Shultz. January 15, 2019.