Dark Web Onion City Curiosity

The Web is a pretty wild place, and the topic of the dark Web continues to draw attention. It may have begun last year with Memex, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) deep Web search engine project that law enforcement has been using for more than a year.

Memex is an abbreviation for memory and index. It consists of tools to support military and government agencies, aiding in their search for publicly available "dark" information on the Internet, such as black market guns and drugs. While it applies to any public domain content, sometimes hidden deep in the Web, it targets human trafficking.

Naked Security has uncovered another dark Web search engine called Onion City. The search engine accesses the anonymous Tor network, finds .onion sites and makes them available to searchers on the World Wide Web. 

While I'm not suggesting that marketers want to advertise on these sites, those with curiosity might want to cautiously take a look and see. Mark Stockley from the security site Naked Security tells us that until now the "best way to search for .onion sites has been to get on the Tor network using something like the Tor browser, but Onion City effectively does that bit for you so you can search from the comfort of your favourite, insecure web browser."

There's so much more information on the Web than what Google, Bing and Yahoo index. Stockley estimates there are about 650,000 dark Web pages that have found their way into the regular Google index via Onion City. The Onion City's search function is a Google Custom Search, so if the same results serve up on Onion City and, for a few exceptions. A search for "guns," for example, on would return information on retail stores selling guns or articles on guns, not black market guns for sale as in the case of Onion.City.



While I searched for "hackers for hire" and "guns," Stockley searched for amphetamines, 9-mm ammunition and hackers for hire. Yes, they're all there on the Onion search engine. He tells us "Onion City isn't doing anything wrong and it's not "outing" anyone on the Dark Web, it's just providing a means for regular web users to search things they would otherwise have to work a little harder to find."

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