There have been increasing insecurities surrounding the Tor browser that has resulted in the shift of the users of the Tor browser to the alternative dark web networks such as ‘I2P’ or the ‘Freenet’ due to the successful law enforcement activity against the Tor browser that augments the possibility of the familiarity of the lesser used dark web networks amidst the security pressures in “Tor“. It has also been observed that the insecurities that have been veiling the Tor browsers have pushed the criminals and the other such illegal actors to switch to the secure consumer base in place of a larger base. It is to be kept in mind that the ‘Tor Hidden Services’ are the ‘.onion’ sites links that often host criminal markets and forums.
Many such Tor-based darknet markets such as the Dream Market, Empire Market and the Nightmare Market have lately switched from the Tor to similar other alternatives. One of the recent additions in the list could be stated as the “Libertas Market” which is a popular marketplace for enabling the ammunition, drugs and digital fraud sales. In the month of May 2019, it became the first criminal darknet marketplace to replace the Tor with the Invisible Internet Project (I2P). The latest vulnerability is the reason behind the movement to a new network by ‘Libertas Market’ as its market forum read:
Earlier in the year 2013, it has established the ‘White Rabbit’ on ‘I2P’ and four years later in 2017, it has switched to ‘Monero’ from openly traceable block chains such as ‘Bitcoin’ or ‘Litecoin’ to augment the sense of animosity. The move was taken by ‘Liberates Market’ to speak in sound and clear voice about the new trend of moving away from ‘Tor’ and raises questions about security and anonymity of the ‘Tor’ website altogether.
It becomes mandatory to ponder upon the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives to the Tor browser so as to get a clear view of the pros and cons of the shift in trending usage pattern. The dark web networks that are witnessing the recent developments in the movement and switching of networks are engaged in constant flux for market and user dominance. The first and foremost is the Freenet that works as being censorship resistant and performs through the concepts to a peer to peer network with the facility to share files in a distributed manner that is publicly available to all users on the network. It is a slower, but more secure, protocol that has been identified to be the most useful. In spite of having fewer features than ‘I2P’ or ‘Tor’, it has consolidated its place among those seeking censorship-resistant, content-based communication. ‘Freenet’ has active nodes representing the active users to remain above 5,000 on a daily basis.
When the dark web alternatives go through a comparison screen, ‘I2P’ is the closest upshot to ‘Tor Hidden Services’. ‘I2P’ provides uniquely private websites within the ‘I2P’ network and similar to the ‘.onion’ top-level domain (TLD), the websites terminate in ‘.i2p’. So as to escape the eyes of law enforcement or intelligence services, alike ‘Tor’, the ‘I2P’ network relies mostly on obfuscation by design, by encrypting network traffic and routing it with randomization across thousands of globally distributed servers. ‘I2P’ despite being a message-based system, the built-in services make it easy to browse with a Firefox-based ‘I2P’ browser once the routing is set up. Distinct from ‘Tor’, ‘I2P’ can also use ‘BitTorrent’ protocols to share files in a proper and distributed manner.
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