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A Search Engine for Drugs, Guns, and Other Illegal Things!

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on
The biggest pain in the rear about using Tor, the anonymous browser that can access hidden "onion" web pages, such as the now-defunct Silk Road, is finding the actual webpages. URLs on TOR are typically an alphanumeric string followed by .onion, for example, a897as34sdfjl.onion. And since sites come and go, and are spoofed often, so not only are they hard to find, but they're hard to validate. Grams seems to be a good place to start, if it isn't a government site. The site is a Google-knockoff search engine that indexes the most popular peddlers of illegal goods and services, making it much more likely that you'll be caught  your clients will be caught you'll find what you are looking for, reports Wired.

Lets Give it a Spin!

If you didn't tune in the last time we tinkered with Tor, that post is a great place to start. And if you want to play along, you can download the Tor browser bundle from the Tor Project's website. Now, you'll want to start by going to one of these "onion" websites. (The name comes from the layers of encryption applied when your data is passed through multiple relays across the world.) It'll take a while to load, so be patient. Look familiar? It's like Google, but not. We searched for "crack," purely in the interest of science of course, but go ahead and search for whatever illegal good or service you are interested in. Just note that we can't promise that the NSA isn't watching, or that Grams itself isn't a trap. (Reddit users seem to be skeptical, with one person referencing "McGruff," the crime dog.)

Why Do Lawyers Need to Know This?

Most of us don't. If you're an estate planning attorney, or in corporate practice, you might just be curious about the "hidden" Internet. For prosecutors and defense attorneys, on the other hand, Tor is increasing in popularity. After the Silk Road was shut down, and its founder indicted for murder for hire and an assortment of other charges, the media attention put a spotlight on Tor. Expect to hear more about illegal service and good procurement (and sting operations) happening on these types of sites in the future. Plus, Tor isn't all drugs, guns, and hackers -- it also has positive uses, such as secure communication for journalists and possibly, for tech-savvy attorneys. Do you use Tor in your legal practice, or for fun? Tell us about your legal Tor activities  on Facebook. Related Resources:
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