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DarkSearch, the real Dark Web search engine (maybe)

6 min read

In a previous post we talked about Kilos, a kind of search engine specializaed in searching among listings in the Dark Markets. Now we are going to talk about DarkSearch, a service that promises to be the first real search engine for the Dark Web.

Let’s see how it works.

Features

Differently from Kilos, DarkSearch allows to search among all the Dark Web pages that have been indexed and not only in some specific market places. Infact DarkSearch indexes continuosly new pages. In the home page there is a counter that, at the moment we are writing this article, tells us that it has indexed more than 467000 pages.

Clearly, in the face of a narrower field of application, Kilos offers greater precision in the results.

Indexed pages counter

We have to consider always that the Dark Web is extremely changeable. The onion services change often their address and may be reachable only for short times before to disappear forever from the scenes. So we could expect that the counter may me oversized by a lot of pages that are not reachable anymore.

Let’s do some tests

Let’s start by saying that we expected that such a service had also an URL with TLD .onion. However, DarkSearch.io does not indicate or index any useful results in this regard.

darksearch.io search

The first very negative aspect is that if we have set the security level of our Tor Browser to “Safest”, we will not even be able to view the home page. It is not an excellent presentation for a Dark Web-oriented search engine that will be used mainly through the Tor Browser.

safest setting

Once we have pleased DarkSearche’s needs lowering the security settings of our Tor Browser, as proud Italians, let’s start with the keyword “Italy”.

Even if we are using Tor Browser, regularly connected to the Tor network, the search engine shows us this warning.

Since our browser does not present any customization, it is likely that DarkSearch is not yet able to recognize it due to the recent updates released by Tor Project.

Let’s give a look at the search results

These are some of the first shown results:

Practically on the first page that is returned to us, all the results refer to virtualglobetrotting.com. This is not exactly what we expected to find in the Dark Web!

Another little problem…

Let’s try something easy, let’s see what happens if we search for the string “bitcoin mixer”.

This time we got results that were more in line with what we could have expected: a list of onion services and an online wallet for bitcoin that promises to also provides mixing features.

Unfortunately, when we attempted to visit the first three indexed pages, they were all unreachable.

Unreachable pages

Anyone who has ever searched for some interesting resource in the Dark Web knows very well that many of the links that can be found refer to defunct pages. It is therefore completely normal for such situations to occur even with the results provided by DarkSearch. It would be useful, perhaps, to use a part of the resources used for indexing web pages to clean the pages already collected, removing those that are no longer reachable. Or it might be interesting to view a “cached copy” obtained during the indexing, but with the risk of making available illegal content already removed by the authorities.

Some insights

Among the most interesting features of this search engine there is the possibility of using dorks to refine the results of our searches.

DarkSearch dorks

For example, with this string:

dump AND (html_content:password AND html_content:mail)

we are looking for the word “dump” in pages that contain the words “password” and “mail“.

At a first look, the provided results seem to be interesting:

First Dork search

Let’s do another test:

pack AND (html_content:doc OR html_content:passport)

in this case we want to search for words containing the string “pack” (such as megapack or package) in pages where there are the words doc or passport. Also in this case the results seem very interesting.

Second Dork Search

Unfortunately none of the indexed pages were found reachable.

We also tried, in urls with domain .onion.link, to visit the page by removing the “.link” thus avoiding to rely on those web proxies that allow you to visit onion service using a browser not connected to the Tor network.

Conclusions

After Kilos, we tried another service aimed at allow users to find their way through the untangled world of the Dark Web. DarkSearch is actually more a search engine for onion services which, it is always good to remember, are not necessarily the lair of every sort of evil that humanity has ever conceived.

Unfortunately, the searches we have carried out with this search engine have certainly given results but often these were linked to unreachable pages. To get around this problem, for example, DarkSearch could sort the search results by the date on which the content was indexed, giving priority to the most recent resources.

We are of the opinion that DarkSearch is undoubtedly an ambitious and promising project but, to date, there is still a long way to go.

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