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The disturbing world of the Deep Web, where contract killers and drug dealers ply their trade on the internet
Dozens of 'hitmen' are available for hire through the 'Deep Web', or Tor
They all offer their services for a price paid in mysterious currency Bitcoin
One boasts: 'I always do my best to make it look like an accident or suicide'
Others market services: 'The best place to put your problems is in a grave'
By Daily Mail Reporter
Published: 16:27 GMT, 11 October 2013 | Updated: 17:39 GMT, 11 October 2013
Hiring a hitman has never been easier. Nor has purchasing cocaine or heroin, nor even viewing horrific child pornography.
Such purchases are now so easy, in fact, that they can all be done from the comfort of one's home at the click of a button... and there's almost nothing the police can do about it.
This worrying development of the criminal black market is down entirely to the Deep Web - a seething matrix of encrypted websites - also known as Tor - that allows users to surf beneath the everyday internet with complete anonymity.
Chilling: So for those looking to bump off a difficult acquaintance, all they have to do is enter the Dark Web and search 'hitman for hire', such as this one
Guns for hire: This site appears to offer the services of a team of former mercenaries from the french foreign Legion
The Deep Web has existed for more than a decade but came under the spotlight last month after police shutdown the Silk Road website - the online marketplace dubbed the 'eBay of drugs' - and arrested its creator.
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But experts warn this has done next to nothing to stem the rising tide of such illicit online exchanges, which are already jostling to fill the gap now left in this unregulated virtual world.
So for those looking to bump off a difficult acquaintance, all they have to do is enter the Deep Web - known also as the 'Dark Web' or the 'Undernet' - and search 'hitman for hire'.
Place your bets: Some 'hitmen' seem to offer others the chance to profit from their killing by allowing users to bet on when a victim will die by putting money in a pool. The closest guess takes home the pot
Kill that ex you hate? This rather more rudimentary website offers to 'neutralist the ex you hate, your bully, a policeman that you have been in trouble with, a lawyer a small politician'
There they are presented with lists of willing assassins touting their wares to anyone who will pay.
And like The Silk Road, transactions are all made using the mysterious online currency Bitcoin. One site, whose name MailOnline has chosen not to publish, offers an assassination in the US or Canada for $10,000 and one in Europe for $12,000.
'I do not know anything about you, you do not know anything about me,' crows one self-styled assassin, according to The Daily Dot. 'The desired victim will pass away. No one will ever know why or who did this. On top of that I always give my best to make it look like an accident or suicide.'
THE DEEP WEB: WHAT IS TOR?'I have gained endless experience(s) in this [sic] 7 years,' he goes on. 'It has changed me a lot. I don't have any empathy for humans anymore.
Tor - short for The onion Router - is a seething matrix of encrypted websites that allows users to surf beneath the everyday internet with complete anonymity.
It uses numerous layers of security and encryption to render users anonymous online.
Normally, file sharing and internet browsing activity can be tracked by law enforcement through each user's unique IP address that can be traced back to an individual computer.
The Tor network on the Deep Web hides the IP address and the activity of the user.
Most of the Web's information is buried far down on dynamically generated sites, unable to be found or seen by traditional search engines - sites or pages don't exist until created as the result of a specific search.
An Internet search is like dragging a net across the surface of the sea - a great deal of information is caught, but a majority is deep and therefore missed.
'This makes me the perfect professional for taking care of your problems and makes me better than other hitmen. If you pay enough I'll do ANYTHING to the desired victim. If I say anything I mean anything.'
Many of the sites even use slogans and marketing techniques that, if it weren't for their macabre subject matter, could be as at home on the website of a legitimate retail website.
'The best place to put your problems is in a grave,' boasts one.
Some even seem to offer others the chance to profit from their killing by allowing users to bet on when a victim will die by putting money in a pool. The closest guess takes home the pot.
And while many appear every inch the cold-blooded killer one would expect from a gun-for-hire, there is also apparently the odd humanitarian hitman.
'Killing is in most cases wrong, yes,' writes one. 'However, as this is an inevitable direction in the technological evolution, I would rather see it in the hands of me than somebody else.'
'By providing it cheaply and accurately I hope that more immoral alternatives won't be profitable or trusted enough. This should primarily be a tool for retribution.'
Adding that murder should always be committed for 'good reason', he writes: 'Bad reasons include doctors for performing abortions and Justin Bieber for making annoying music.'
The Silk Road: The Deep Web has existed for more than a decade but came under the spotlight last month after police shutdown the Silk Road website - the online marketplace dubbed the 'eBay of drugs - and arrested its creator
Arrest: The Silk Road's creator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested earlier this month after allegedly hiring an undercover FBI agent to kill two people
The Silk Road's creator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested last month after allegedly hiring an undercover FBI agent to murder a member of the site who was apparently blackmailing him. He allegedly also tried to have an employee killed who he thought might blow his identity to police.
Meanwhile, even as the Silk Road was trundling to a halt, already hundreds of other websites were springing up in its place, peddling anything from drugs to stolen identities, illegal weapons to sickening child pornography and even explosives.
In June it emerged one such site, called Atlantis, was even offering its wares in an advert posted on YouTube.
Looking like an advert for a well-funded Silicon Valley start-up, the slick promo video for Atlantis boasts that it is 'the world's best anonymous online drug marketplace'.
Dangerous drugs: A screengrab of of the Atlantis online marketplace shows some of the illegal drugs on offer, including heroin, cannabis, MDMA and LSD
It comes as the site's backers announced the launch of a 'big social media campaign' that seems intended to make a play for the market share of the better-known Silk Road.
But while experts say police are all but powerless to shut down websites selling illicit products, authorities claim they are making inroads in their bid to stifle the Deep Web's growth.
The U.S. federal government appears to have been forcing the shut down of pedophiles communities on the shady underbelly of the Internet by targeting sites hiding within the Deep Web.
August saw the arrest of Irishman Eric Eoin Marques, who the FBI has called 'the biggest facilitator of child pornography on the planet'.
Marques is accused of running Freedom Hosting, a web hosting service that operates on the anonymous Tor network. Forums on Freedom Hosting allegedly allowed pedophiles to anonymously share horrific child pornography and trade tips on how to sexually abuse children without getting caught.
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