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    The term "Dark Web" often conjures images of a hidden underworld where anonymity and secrecy reign. While it's true that the Dark Web is a small part of the internet that is not indexed by standard search engines, it is much more than a haven for illicit activities.

    Before diving into the specific terminology, it's important to understand what the Dark Web actually is. The Dark Web is a part of the internet that can only be accessed using special software that allows users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable. This anonymity is what distinguishes the Dark Web from the 'Surface Web', which is accessible through standard web browsers and indexed by search engines like Google.

    Key terms of the Dark Web

     The Hidden Web glossary


    Account Takeover. This is a cybersecurity threat where an individual's account, whether it be an email, social media, or financial account, is hijacked and controlled by an unauthorized party.

    Actors. Refers to individuals or groups engaged in cybersecurity breaches, with motives that can range from financial gain to political statements.

    Administrator. An individual responsible for overseeing and securing an organization’s network infrastructure and servers.

    AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). A robust cipher used by the U.S. government among others to secure classified and sensitive data.

    Affiliate. A business partner who earns a commission from collaborating in the distribution or sales of products, often in less-than-legal frameworks.

    Affiliate Model. A business structure where services are bought from another party and profits are shared. Common in underground markets, particularly in the distribution of malware or ransomware.

    AP (Affiliate Partner). A type of business relationship where software developers lease their malware or ransomware to others for a cut of the earnings.

    Alias. A fictitious name used to conceal an individual's identity on digital platforms, with no ties to their real identity.

    APT (Advanced Persistent Threat). A prolonged and targeted cyberattack in which an intruder gains access to a network and remains undetected with the intent to steal data or cause damage over time.

    AML (Anti-Money Laundering). Strategies, laws, and regulations to prevent generating income through illegal actions.

    Anon. A shorthand for "anonymous", used to describe users whose identities are not known.

    AnonFiles. An online repository that allows users to upload and share files anonymously.

    API (Application Programming Interface). A set of protocols and tools that allows different software applications to interact with each other.

    AV (Anti-Virus). Software designed to detect, prevent, and remove malware and other malicious software.


    Backdoor. A backdoor refers to a covert method of bypassing normal authentication or encryption in a computer, product, or embedded device. While sometimes intentionally created for legitimate purposes, backdoors can be exploited by cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to systems.

    Bait & Switching. This deceptive marketing tactic is used on the Dark Web where sellers advertise a product at a low price to attract buyers, only to push a more expensive or different product upon engagement.

    Bank Drops. These are bank accounts utilized by cybercriminals to convert stolen bank credentials into cash. These accounts are typically filled through fraudulent transfers facilitated by intermediaries known as money mules.

    BIN (Bank Identification Number). A BIN is the initial series of numbers in a credit card number that identifies the institution that issued the card. This is a critical element in financial frauds and carding activities on the Dark Web.

    Blockchain. A blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without altering all subsequent blocks.

    Botnet. A network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners' knowledge, e.g., to send spam messages or launch denial of service attacks.

    Breach. A security incident where data is accessed without authorization. Breaches typically target corporations and organizations, leading to significant data leaks and losses.

    Bridges. In the context of the Tor network, bridges are private Tor relay nodes that help users connect to the network while avoiding censorship.

    Brute Force Attack. A trial-and-error method used by application programs to decode encrypted data such as passwords through exhaustive effort (using brute force) rather than employing intellectual strategies.

    Black Market. Illegal online marketplaces on the Dark Web that deal in a variety of goods, ranging from illicit drugs to stolen data. While notorious for illegal activities, not all products sold on these markets are forbidden.

    BTC (Bitcoin). The primary cryptocurrency used for transactions on the Dark Web due to its perceived anonymity and ease of transfer.

    Burner. A disposable, often anonymous device used to maintain privacy or security. Burners are frequently employed to manage identities or engage in activities without leaving a digital trace back to the user.


     C2 (Command and Control). In cybersecurity, C2 refers to the infrastructure that allows attackers to command, control, and manage a botnet or a network of compromised devices remotely.

    Carding. This term describes the unauthorized use of credit card data to buy goods and services fraudulently. It's a prevalent activity within the dark web's illicit marketplaces.

    Chan. An anonymous forum on the deep web known for its image-based posting format. These forums are notorious for their fast-paced and often politically charged discussions.

    Cheese. Slang for money, derived historically from government-issued welfare benefits that included actual cheese. In dark web vernacular, "cheese on deck" indicates available funds.

    Cipher. An algorithm for performing encryption or decryption—a foundational technology in securing digital data.

    Clearnet. The easily accessible part of the internet that is indexed by search engines, also known as the surface web.

    Cleartext. Any text or data transmitted or stored unencrypted, making it easy to intercept and read without specialized tools.

    Click Fraud. A type of fraud where individuals click on web ads to generate revenue under false pretenses, often exploiting pay-per-click advertising.

    Cloaking. A deceptive technique used in SEO where different versions of a website are presented depending on who is accessing it to manipulate search engine rankings or to spread malware.

    Cold Wallet. A secure method of storing cryptocurrencies offline, safe from hacking and other online threats.

    Combo Lists. Lists that contain combinations of usernames and passwords. These are used in credential stuffing attacks to gain unauthorized access to multiple accounts.

    Consensus (Crypto). A fundamental aspect of blockchain technology where all participants agree on the validity of transactions to maintain trust and security.

    Cookie (Technology). Small pieces of data sent from a website and stored on the user's computer by the user's web browser while the user is browsing, facilitating smoother web interactions and personalizations.

    CPN (Credit Profile Number). A fraudulent number marketed as a way to hide credit history and secure new credit. This practice is illegal and risky.

    Cracking. The act of bypassing software security systems to use it without paying for the license or gaining unauthorized access to features.

    Crawler (Technology). An automated script or program that systematically browses the internet for web indexing by search engines.

    Credential Stuffing. A cyberattack method where stolen account credentials, typically obtained from a data breach, are used to gain unauthorized access to user accounts through large-scale automated login requests.

    CSAM. An acronym for Child Sexual Abuse Material; illegal content that is prevalent on darker parts of the internet.

    CTA (Cyber Threat Actor). An individual or group that poses a threat to cyber security and is involved in creating, launching, or exploiting security vulnerabilities.

    Cyber Insurance. Insurance products designed to offer protection against the fallout from cyber incidents, such as data breaches, business interruptions, and network damage.

    Cybersecurity Incident. Any event that results in unauthorized access or damage to information systems, potentially compromising data integrity and security.

    Cyberspace. A broad term that describes the interconnected technology landscape, encompassing everything from the internet to network infrastructures and digital devices.

    Cryptocurrency. Digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security, notable for its decentralized nature and use on the dark web and beyond with popular options like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.


    DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). A DAO is an organization represented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by organization members and not influenced by a central government. DAOs are the backbone of many decentralized applications built on blockchain technology.

    Darknet. Often confused with the deep web, the darknet refers to networks that can only be accessed with specific software, configurations, or authorization, often using non-standard communications protocols and ports. Two typical types of darknet are peer-to-peer networks and Tor networks.

    Data Lake. A data lake is a storage repository that holds a vast amount of raw data in its native format until it is needed. It is a scalable, flexible solution that stores unstructured and structured data from multiple sources.

    DB (Database). In darknet slang, 'DB' refers to a database where data is stored. Databases on the dark web often contain sensitive or illegal information.

    DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service Attack). This type of cyber attack occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers, making network services temporarily unavailable.

    Decentralized. In a decentralized system, control and decision-making are distributed or delegated away from a central authority. Most blockchain networks are decentralized, as they do not rely on a single point of control.

    Deep Web. The part of the web not indexed by search engines. This includes anything behind a paywall or requiring sign-in credentials, also encompassing protected pages such as personal email accounts or private databases.

    DeFi (Decentralized Finance). An emerging financial technology based on secure distributed ledgers similar to those used by cryptocurrencies. DeFi aims to remove the control banks and institutions have on money, financial products, and financial services.

    Distro. Short for 'distribution', a distro is a version of a software, typically an operating system, that has been packaged together with other software applications and services.

    DD (Delivery Days). A common term on the darknet referring to the expected number of days it takes for goods to be delivered, often used in the context of illegal goods.

    Dox. To dox someone is to publicly reveal private or identifying information about an individual on the internet without their consent, often for malicious purposes.

    Dreadit. A forum on the dark web known as the darknet's version of Reddit. It was created as an alternative platform for discussions that are banned or frowned upon on mainstream platforms.

    Drop Site. A location where items, often acquired through illegal transactions, are left for pick-up.

    Dump (Crypto). In the context of cryptocurrency, 'dump' refers to selling off a crypto asset rapidly, usually after a significant price drop.

    Dumps. In the financial fraudulent context, 'dumps' refers to large volumes of stolen credit card data available for sale on the dark web.

    DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke). A free data destruction program that completely erases all the files on a hard drive, making data recovery impossible, used particularly for securely wiping data from computing devices.


    ECC (Error Correction Code). ECC is a system in computing that checks the data being read or transmitted for any errors. It automatically corrects these errors on-the-fly, enhancing data integrity and stability in memory systems or during data transmission.

    EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response). EDR is a security solution focused on detecting, investigating, and mitigating suspicious activities on hosts or endpoints. It is an integral part of modern cybersecurity strategies to protect against malware and other threats.

    Encryption. Encryption is the process of converting information or data into a secure format that cannot be read without a key, preventing unauthorized access. It is a critical tool for safeguarding sensitive data.

    Escrow. Escrow refers to a financial arrangement where a third party holds and regulates payment of the funds required for two parties involved in a given transaction. It is commonly used on darknet marketplaces to ensure both buyers and sellers complete their obligations before releasing funds.

    ETH (Ethereum). Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source blockchain system that features smart contract functionality. ETH, its native cryptocurrency, is used for transactions on the Ethereum network.

    Exfil (Exfiltration). In cybersecurity, exfiltration refers to the unauthorized transfer of data from a computer or server. This process is often executed through methods like Secure Shell (SSH) or File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

    Exit Relay. In the context of Tor, an exit relay is the last relay that Tor traffic passes through before it reaches its final destination. The exit relay appears to websites as the source of the traffic, masking the user’s actual location.

    Exit Scam. An exit scam occurs when a darknet market or seller abruptly ceases operations and absconds with the customers' funds, typically those held in escrow, without fulfilling outstanding orders.

    Exploit. An exploit is a piece of software, a chunk of data, or sequence of commands that takes advantage of a bug or vulnerability to cause unintended or unanticipated behavior to occur on computer software, hardware, or something electronic.

    Exploit Kits. Also known as exploit packs, these are collections of exploits that allow cybercriminals to target vulnerabilities. They are tools that automate the exploitation of vulnerabilities in software applications.


    FE (Finalize Early). In darknet marketplaces, FE is a term used when funds held in escrow are released to the vendor before the buyer has received the product. This practice is risky for buyers as it offers no protection if the vendor does not deliver the promised goods.

    Fent. A street name for Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is significantly more potent than heroin. Its powerful effects make it a dangerous drug, often associated with a high risk of overdose.

    Flake. Flake is a term used to describe high-quality cocaine. It is noted for its purity and potency, often fetching a higher price on the market.

    Forum. An online platform where individuals gather to discuss various topics. Forums on the darknet often revolve around specific interests or activities and can range from discussions on privacy and technology to exchanges about illegal goods.

    Freenet. Freenet is a peer-to-peer platform designed to ensure anonymity and resist censorship. It allows users to anonymously share files, browse, and publish "freesites" (webpages accessible only through Freenet) without fear of censorship.

    Fullz. Fullz is a slang term used to describe full packages of individuals’ personal identifying information (PII). These packages typically include a person’s name, Social Security number, birth date, account numbers, and other data that can be used for identity theft or financial fraud.


    Grams. Grams was a specialized meta-search engine on the dark web that operated from 2014 to 2017. It was designed to enable users to search across multiple darknet markets for various products, including illicit drugs and firearms.


    Hacker. A hacker is someone skilled in technology who uses their expertise to overcome problems, access systems, or obtain data. While often portrayed negatively, hackers can also use their skills for positive social impact or on behalf of governments and organizations.

    Hacking. Hacking involves activities that seek to compromise digital devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and even entire networks. The purpose is typically to steal, alter, or destroy information for malicious reasons, though it can also include acts of protest against organizations (hacktivism).

    Hacktivist. A hacktivist is an individual who uses hacking skills to push social, political, or religious agendas—often by attacking organizations that oppose their beliefs or practices. This form of activism uses digital tools to cause disruption or spread messages.

    Hax. Often used informally, 'hax' refers to simpler or less significant hacks and cheats, usually implying a low level of sophistication or impact.

    Hidden Service. A hidden service, commonly associated with .onion URLs on the Tor network, refers to websites that are not indexed by traditional search engines and can only be accessed through specific configurations that ensure privacy and anonymity.

    High-Risk Surface Web. This term describes parts of the surface web that share content or characteristics with the dark web, including unofficial mirrors of darknet sites. These areas might not require special browsers like Tor to access but still carry risks associated with illegal or harmful content.

    Honeypot. In cybersecurity, a honeypot is a decoy system set up to attract cybercriminals. By mimicking vulnerabilities, honeypots aim to deceive hackers into attempting an attack, thereby exposing themselves to law enforcement or security researchers.

    Hot Wallet. A hot wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that is always connected to the internet. These wallets are convenient for frequent transactions but are also more vulnerable to hacking than their offline counterparts, known as cold wallets.

    Hidden Wiki. The Hidden Wiki acts as a directory or index of the dark web, providing links to various .onion sites categorized by their content. It is one of the best-known starting points for navigating the complex pathways of the dark web.


    I2P (Invisible Internet Project). The I2P network is a highly secure, fully encrypted private network layer that allows anonymous communication across the internet. Using peer-to-peer connections, it offers users protection against censorship and surveillance, making it a critical tool for privacy-focused internet usage.

    IAB (Initial Access Brokers). Initial Access Brokers are individuals or groups who specialize in breaching security systems to gain initial access to digital networks or data. They often sell this access to other malicious actors who then carry out further attacks such as data theft or ransomware deployment.

    IDS (Intrusion Detection System). An IDS is a device or software application that monitors a network or systems for malicious activity or policy violations. Any detected activity or violation is typically reported either to an administrator or collected centrally using a security information and event management (SIEM) system.

    IR (Incident Response). Incident response refers to an organization's process of responding to a cybersecurity incident or breach. The goal is to handle the situation in a way that limits damage and reduces recovery time and costs. An effective IR strategy is a fundamental part of any cybersecurity program.


    Jabber. Jabber is a cloud-based communication platform provided by Cisco that supports encrypted server-to-server connections. It is designed to facilitate seamless and secure communication across various devices and platforms.


     Kali Linux. Kali Linux is a free, open-source operating system based on Debian, specifically designed for security auditing and penetration testing. It is distributed by Offensive Security and comes equipped with a suite of tools that help in assessing and strengthening security systems.

    Keylogger. A keylogger is software or a hardware device that records keystrokes made on a keyboard without the user's knowledge. This tool captures everything typed by a user, including passwords, messages, and other sensitive information.

    KYC (Know Your Customer). KYC is a standard verification process used primarily by banks, financial institutions, and crypto exchanges to confirm the identity of their clients. This procedure is critical in preventing identity theft, financial fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financing.


    LEA (Law Enforcement Agency). LEA stands for Law Enforcement Agency, which refers to government agencies responsible for the enforcement of laws. They play a crucial role in regulating, controlling, and preventing illegal activities, including cybercrime.

    Leak. In cybersecurity, a leak refers to the accidental exposure of confidential or protected data. This exposure can compromise personal privacy, security, and the integrity of organizational operations.

    Ledger. A ledger in financial contexts is a record-keeping system that maintains a detailed account of transactions. In the realm of cryptocurrency, ledgers help in tracking the movement of digital currencies while preserving the anonymity of users’ identities.

    Leech. In the context of file sharing, a leech is someone who downloads files, such as data or software, from a network without contributing resources back. This term is often used pejoratively in online communities.

    Listing. A listing on the dark web refers to the advertisement or offering of a product or service for sale, often found in hidden marketplaces that are accessible only through specific secured and anonymous browsers.

    Logs. Logs are files automatically created and maintained by a computer system, recording activities such as transactions, operations, and other system behaviors. These files are crucial for auditing and monitoring system performance and security.


    Malware. Malware, or malicious software, refers to any program or file designed to harm a computer, network, or server. Its functions can range from stealing data to hijacking system resources and are commonly used in cyberattacks.

    Mariana’s Web. Often cited as an urban legend of the internet, Mariana's Web is purportedly the deepest, most hidden part of the dark web. It is said to contain highly secretive information and illegal services, though its existence remains unproven and mythical.

    Marketplace. Marketplaces on the dark web are websites where users can buy and sell goods and services anonymously. These markets are typically accessed via specific secure browsers and are known for trading in a variety of items, including legal and illegal products.

    MD5 Hash. MD5 is a widely used cryptographic hash function that produces a 128-bit hash value. It is commonly employed to verify data integrity through creating a unique digital fingerprint of file contents, though it's now considered vulnerable to security breaches.

    MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication). MFA is a security system that requires more than one method of authentication from independent categories of credentials to verify the user's identity for a login or other transaction.

    MITM (Man in the Middle Attack). A MITM attack is a cybersecurity breach where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other.

    Mining (Crypto). In the context of cryptocurrency, mining refers to the process of using computer power to process transactions, secure the network, and keep everyone in the system synchronized together. It involves adding cryptocurrency transactions to the blockchain.

    Mirror Site. A mirror site is a replica of a website hosted on a different server. Useful for reducing network traffic, improving access speed, and ensuring availability of the original site’s content in case of downtime.

    Mix (Crypto). Also known as a crypto tumbler, a mix is a service that obscures the origin of cryptocurrencies by mixing potentially identifiable or 'tainted' cryptocurrency funds with others, making it difficult to trace back to the original source.

    Mod. Short for moderator, a mod is someone who oversees forums, chat rooms, or online discussions to enforce rules, foster constructive interaction, and manage content.

    Molly. Slang for MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), a psychoactive drug known commonly as ecstasy, primarily used recreationally for its euphoric effects.

    Monero. Monero is a privacy-focused cryptocurrency that uses advanced cryptographic functions to ensure that transactions are not only untraceable but also have masked amounts involved in the transactions, making it highly popular on the darknet.

    Mules. In cybercrime, mules, or money mules, are individuals who transfer money acquired illegally on behalf of or at the direction of another. This process helps to disguise the origins of the stolen funds.


    Nation-State Actors. Nation-state actors are individuals or groups that engage in cyber activities on behalf of a government. These actors often participate in gathering intelligence, conducting cyber espionage, or executing cyber attacks that can influence or directly benefit their own country's strategic interests.

    NFT (Non-Fungible Token). An NFT is a type of digital asset that represents ownership of a unique item or piece of content, such as art, music, video clips, and more, using blockchain technology. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, which are fungible, meaning each unit is the same as every other unit, NFTs are unique and cannot be exchanged on a one-to-one basis.

    Node (In the context of Tor). A node in the Tor network is a volunteer-operated server that plays a part in routing and obfuscating internet traffic to preserve user privacy and anonymity. Nodes within the Tor network can serve various roles, including entry nodes, exit nodes, relay nodes, and bridges.


    OMEMO (Multi-End Message and Object Encryption). OMEMO is an advanced cryptographic protocol used as an extension for the XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol). It provides end-to-end encryption across multiple clients simultaneously.

    Onion (Top-level Domain). onion is a special-use top-level domain suffix designating an anonymous hidden service accessible via the Tor network.

    Onion Browser. An Onion Browser is a web browser specifically designed to access the content of the .onion domains on the Tor network.

    Onion Router (Tor). Often referred to simply as Tor, this is an open-source privacy network that enables anonymous communication across the internet.

    Onion Routing. Onion Routing is a technique for anonymous communication over a computer network. In an onion network, messages are encapsulated in layers of encryption, akin to layers of an onion.

    Open Source. Open source refers to any program, application, software, or data that is made available to the public for use, modification, and distribution without any cost.

    OPSEC (Operational Security). OPSEC is a process and set of practices designed to ensure operational security for individuals and organizations, helping protect data from potential adversaries.


    P2P (Peer-to-Peer). A decentralized network model where each computer, or "peer", acts both as a client and a server, sharing the workload of processing data. This model is often used for sharing files or other data across the internet.

    Packet. A small segment of data sent over a network. Packets are the fundamental unit of data transferred across network connections, containing both control information and user data.

    Packs (Fraud Packs). Collections of tools and resources designed to teach or facilitate illegal activities on the darknet, such as fraud or hacking.

    Pastebin. An online service that allows users to upload and share text for a set period. It is commonly used for code sharing and collaborative debugging but has also been used for anonymously posting data leaks or other information.

    Payload. The part of malware that performs malicious actions, ranging from data theft to system damage. The payload activates once the malware breaches the target’s defenses.

    PCP (Phencyclidine). A dissociative drug known for its mind-altering effects. While it's less relevant to cybersecurity, understanding slang terms for various substances can be important in contexts such as law enforcement and digital content monitoring.

    PERSEC (Personal Security). Practices and strategies focused on protecting an individual’s private information and identity from unauthorized access and misuse.

    PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). A data encryption and decryption program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. PGP is widely used for securing emails and other data transfers.

    Phishing & PhaaS (Phishing as a Service). Phishing is a fraudulent attempt, typically made through email, to obtain sensitive information by pretending to be a trustworthy entity. PhaaS refers to packages that include tools and resources to facilitate phishing attacks.

    Pirate Bay. A well-known file-sharing site that allows users to exchange digital content such as movies, games, and software. It’s often in the spotlight for copyright infringement issues.

    Plain-text. Text that is not encrypted and can be read easily by anyone. In contrast, encrypted text must be decrypted using a key.

    POS (Proof-of-Stake). A type of algorithm by which a cryptocurrency blockchain network aims to achieve distributed consensus. Unlike proof-of-work (PoW), which requires computational power, PoS is based on the amount of cryptocurrency a person holds.

    Private and Public Keys. In cryptography, a private key is a secret key that is used in combination with a public key to encrypt and decrypt data. The public key can be shared with anyone, while the private key is kept secret.


    qTox. qTox is a free, open-source instant messaging application that supports text messaging, voice calls, video calls, and file transfers, all secured with end-to-end encryption. It operates on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, meaning that communications are made directly between users without the need for centralized servers.


    Ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or encrypt files until a sum of money is paid. This malware can affect individual users as well as large corporations, causing significant data loss and financial damage.

    RaaS (Ransomware-as-a-Service). RaaS is a subscription-based model that enables affiliates to use already developed ransomware tools to execute attacks. This business model allows even those with minimal technical skill to launch ransomware campaigns, broadening the scope of potential attackers.

    RAT (Remote Access Trojan). A RAT is a type of malware that creates a backdoor for administrative control over the targeted computer. RATs allow attackers to perform a range of actions on the infected machine, such as stealing information, uploading and downloading files, and monitoring user behavior.

    RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). RDP is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft that allows users to connect to another computer over a network connection. While designed for legitimate remote access, RDP can be exploited by attackers if not properly secured.

    Ripper. In darknet jargon, a 'ripper' refers to a scammer who cheats other users, typically by failing to deliver goods or services after payment.

    Rootkit. A rootkit is a type of software designed to gain administrative-level control over a computer system without being detected. It can be used by an attacker to alter system configurations, remove or disable security software, and hide malicious activities.

    RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman). RSA is one of the first public-key cryptosystems and is widely used for secure data transmission. It's named after its creators, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman.


    Secret Key (Private Key). A secret or private key is a large numerical value used in encryption algorithms to encrypt and decrypt data. This key is kept confidential and shared only with authorized users to ensure data security.

    SOCKS (Secure Over Credential-Based Kerberos Services). SOCKS is an internet protocol that facilitates the routing of network packets between a client and a server through a proxy server, enhancing security and privacy.

    Stealer. A type of malware designed to infiltrate devices and steal sensitive information such as credentials, cookies, and personal data, often leading to financial fraud or identity theft.

    SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a third-party provider and made available to customers over the internet, typically on a subscription basis.

    Sandbox. A sandbox is a security mechanism for separating running programs, usually in an isolated environment, where they can't affect underlying systems. It is used to safely run untrusted or testing software without risk to the host device or network.

    Satoshi Nakamoto. The pseudonymous person or group of people who developed Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, and implemented the first blockchain database.

    Sauce. In cybercriminal vernacular, "sauce" refers to the essential methods or knowledge needed to execute fraudulent activities or software exploitation.

    Script Kiddie. A derogatory term for an inexperienced hacker who uses existing computer scripts or code to hack into computers, lacking the expertise to write their own.

    Seizure. The act of law enforcement forcibly taking control of a website, online service, or operation, often used in the context of shutting down illegal darknet markets.

    Sharding. A database partitioning technique used by blockchain companies to enhance transaction processing speeds and scalability by splitting the database into smaller, manageable pieces.

    SIM Swapping. A type of identity theft where a criminal transfers a victim’s phone number to a SIM card controlled by the criminal, often to bypass SMS-based authentication and access sensitive accounts.

    Skimming. The theft of credit card information using a small device installed on ATMs or point-of-sale terminals, which captures card data during transactions.

    Slave (Zombie). In a cybersecurity context, a "slave" or "zombie" refers to a compromised computer or device that is controlled by a hacker to perform malicious tasks as part of a botnet.

    Smishing. A form of phishing conducted via SMS, where attackers send text messages trying to lure recipients into revealing personal information or downloading malware.

    SMS Bomber. A tool used to send a large volume of SMS messages to a single phone number, often used in harassment or as part of a phishing scam.

    SOC (Security Operations Center). A facility that houses an information security team responsible for monitoring and analyzing an organization's security posture on an ongoing basis.

    Social Engineering. The art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information, such as passwords and banking information, or perform actions that break normal security procedures.

    Sock Puppet. A fake online identity used for purposes of deception. This could be to troll other users, manipulate discussions, or conduct illicit activities under a guise.

    Software. A general term for the programs, applications, and scripts that run on a device. Software can be designed for a variety of purposes, from performing basic tasks to running complex systems.

    Spoofing. The malicious practice of disguising one’s identity or communications over a network by falsifying data, such as IP addresses or email headers, to mislead recipients about the origin of the message.

    SQL (Structured Query Language). SQL is the standard programming language used to manage and manipulate databases. It is used extensively in all database management systems.

    SSH (Secure Shell). SSH is a cryptographic network protocol used for secure communication between systems. It is commonly used to access network services securely over an unsecured network.

    Stablecoin. A type of cryptocurrency that is designed to have a stable value by being pegged to a reserve asset, such as gold or fiat currencies like the US dollar.

    Staking (Crypto). The process of holding funds in a cryptocurrency wallet to support the operations of a blockchain network. Staking involves locking cryptocurrencies to receive rewards, often in the form of additional coins or interest payments.

    Stash. A stash typically refers to a hidden or stored cache of illegal materials, but in the digital context, it can also mean a storage of data or digital resources kept in reserve.

    Surface Web. The surface web is the part of the internet that is accessible through standard web browsers and indexed by search engines like Google, making it visible and available to the general public.

    Swarm. A coordinated attack where multiple threat actors or systems target a single network or resource simultaneously, often overwhelming defenses through sheer volume.

    Swiping. Swiping refers to the unauthorized use of stolen credit card information to make fraudulent purchases or withdraw cash. This can also include using stolen debit card information at ATMs.


    Tails. Tails, or The Amnesic Incognito Live System, is a security-focused operating system that is designed to preserve privacy and anonymity. It routes all its internet connections through the Tor network, ensuring that users leave no trace on the computer they are using unless they explicitly ask it to.

    TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). TCP is a fundamental communication standard that enables exchanging data between applications over a network. It ensures the reliable, ordered, and error-checked delivery of a stream of data between applications.

    Thread. In online forums, a thread is a sequence of messages or comments written as replies under a single topic. Threads allow multiple users to discuss specific topics in a structured manner.

    TLD (Top-Level Domain). A TLD is the last segment of a domain name, located after the last dot, such as .com, .org, and .net.

    TLP (Traffic Light Protocol). TLP is a set of designations used to ensure that sensitive information is shared with the appropriate audience. It uses colors to indicate the level of sensitivity: RED, AMBER, GREEN, and WHITE.

    To The Moon (crypto). A slang term used in the cryptocurrency community to describe a situation where a cryptocurrency is experiencing a significant price increase.

    Token (crypto). In cryptocurrency, a token represents a unit of value issued by a project or company and is hosted on an existing blockchain.

    Tor (The Onion Router). Tor is a free software for enabling anonymous communication. It directs internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user's location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.

    Transaction (crypto). In the context of cryptocurrencies, a transaction is the transfer of currency between two digital wallets. Each transaction is recorded on a blockchain, which is public and can be viewed using blockchain explorers.

    Tripcode. A tripcode is a way for users of anonymous imageboards to establish persistent identity without registering with the site. It uses a hashed value of a password to allow users to distinguish themselves from others.

    Trojan (Trojan Horse). A Trojan is a type of malware that is disguised as legitimate software. Users are tricked into loading and executing the malware on their systems. Once activated, it can enable cybercriminals to spy on users, steal sensitive data, and gain backdoor access to systems.

    TTP (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures). In cybersecurity, TTPs refer to the behavior or methods of attackers. Understanding an attacker's TTPs can help organizations and security professionals develop strategies to detect and mitigate potential threats.

    Tumbler (crypto). Also known as a cryptocurrency mixing service, tumblers are used to improve the anonymity of cryptocurrencies. They do this by mixing potentially identifiable or "tainted" funds with others, making it harder to trace back to the original source.

    Two-factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA is an extra layer of security used to ensure that people trying to gain access to an online account are who they say they are. First, a user will enter their username and a password. Then, instead of immediately gaining access, they will be required to provide another piece of information.


    Valids. In cybersecurity, "valids" refer to confirmed sets of data that have been verified as authentic and usable. Common types of valids include validated credit card numbers or confirmed username and password combinations.

    Vendors. Vendors on the darknet are individuals or entities that sell goods or services in darknet marketplaces. These can range from illegal substances to stolen data.

    Vendor Shop. A vendor shop on the darknet is a specialized site or service offering products from a single vendor or a limited group (usually one or two). These shops typically focus on a specific category of products or services.

    Virus. A virus is a type of malware that, when executed, replicates by inserting copies of itself into other computer programs, data files, or the boot sector of the hard drive. Once the replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be "infected".

    VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN is a service that creates a secure, encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the internet. VPNs are used to ensure privacy and protect user data by creating a private tunnel between the user and the internet.


    Whale. In the cryptocurrency context, a 'whale' refers to an individual, institution, or exchange holding a significant amount of cryptocurrency capable of influencing market prices through large-scale transactions.

    Whonix. Whonix is a Linux distribution that emphasizes security and privacy. Its unique feature is that it routes all internet communications through the Tor network, ensuring that all applications operate anonymously.

    Worm. A worm is a type of malware that replicates itself to spread to other computers. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms often exploit vulnerabilities in software or an operating system to spread across networks and can cause considerable disruption and damage.

    Whistleblower. A whistleblower is someone who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public. Whistleblowers might access and disseminate sensitive information to the public, often through the media, to highlight malpractice.


    X (Ecstasy). 'X' is a common slang term for Ecstasy, a recreational psychoactive drug primarily known for its hallucinogenic and stimulant effects. The main chemical component in Ecstasy is MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine).

    XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol). XMPP is an open-standard communications protocol that uses XML (eXtensible Markup Language) to power the exchange of real-time messages, presence information, and other collaboration data among users on online networks.

    XMR (Monero). XMR is the ticker symbol for Monero, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency. Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, Monero is known for its strong anonymity features, making transactions virtually untraceable.

    XSS (Cross-Site Scripting). XSS is a common security vulnerability found in web applications. It allows attackers to inject malicious scripts into web pages viewed by other users, potentially leading to data theft, session hijacking, and other malicious activities.


    Zero-Day Vulnerability. A zero-day vulnerability refers to a security flaw in software or hardware that is unknown to the vendor and thus does not have a patch or a fix available at the time of discovery. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by cybercriminals to cause significant damage before a solution can be implemented.

    Zite. A Zite is a website hosted within the ZeroNet network, which is a decentralized web-like network of peer-to-peer users. ZeroNet uses blockchain technology and Bitcoin cryptography to deliver a highly resilient and censorship-resistant website hosting option.


    The Dark Web is a complex and often misunderstood segment of the internet. By understanding the terms associated with it, users can better grasp the potential risks and benefits of navigating these hidden corners of the web. Whether used for ensuring privacy or engaging in confidential communications, the tools and services of the Dark Web have significant implications for personal security and internet freedom. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility, and navigating the Dark Web should be done with caution and respect for the law.