While the deep, shaded corners of the Dark Net have lost one valuable source in Silk Road’s shutdown, a new website promises to help lurkers find their next shadowy resource. Venturebeat reports that TorSearch offers a more private (and deeper) Tor search experience compared to traditional engines like Bing and Google, and even popular Tor search website DuckDuckGo.
TorSearch is able to offer anonymity by enabling users to connect to websites and platforms via a third-party introduction point, and then maintains the connection via a random relay service. That means a user with Tor enabled can search for illegal drugs or pirated porn, and then trust the the access point is hidden within the relay. The result is a search experience that a third-party observer could not identify.
While TorSearch, which has an index of 130,000 Deep Web links, has become popular among Tor users (doubling its traffic in three weeks’ time), its existence highlights the increasingly complex measures the Deep Web community must take to remain anonymous. As highlighted during this summer’s NSA scandal, the government is much more likely to observe an internet user that already has a presence on Tor — and that alone is enough to launch an investigation.
While many people simply want to dodge ads and remain private, the shading of illegal activity is likely to become more difficult for Tor users. TorSearch aims to offer Google-like efficiency with the anonymity of the Deep Web, and will likely become a much-used service for those who care about privacy. But it’s another piece in the interesting puzzle that is the post-NSA, post-Silk Road Darknet community.