To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Hacker with over 30 years experience shares the scariest things he’s seen on the dark web

Hacker with over 30 years experience shares the scariest things he’s seen on the dark web

The dark web is a pretty terrifying place for most of us.

The 'dark web' is one of those phrases that means different things to different people - but if you're in the know, you'll understand that it's basically an unregulated slice of the internet.

There's a reason it's associated with drug deals and illicit activity - because that stuff does indeed happen on it.

Most people would struggle to even know how to access it in the first place, since you can't just put a URL into a normal web browser to get onto it - there are way more hoops to jump through than that.


A video from VICE a few years ago, though, shows just how harrowing a place it can be - by talking to a professional hacker who's spent masses of time on the dark web.

He described how he used to be a malicious hacker who enjoyed seeing how disruptive he could be, but said that he'd now swapped things around and worked in cybersecurity professionally.

This means the anonymous guy used to be a 'black hat' - a hacker who wasn't bound by any ethical code - but is now a 'white hat', who works towards the greater good, which often means finding weak spots in security software.

He said that the biggest portion of hacking he ended up seeing came in the form of ransomware attacks.

These effectively involve hackers locking people out of their own systems, and demanding a ransom to let them back in.

That would be annoying if it was your personal computer, but as the hacker pointed out, when it's actually the computer systems of a major hospital or some other life-saving care, it's an incredibly scary situation.


After all, it leaves the business choosing whether to pay a criminal or hold out and risk lives by trying to fight back.

The payments demanded are also evolving, he said. "Back when it started ransomware was charging hundreds of dollars, maybe thousands of dollars for individual targets.

"The bigger payouts that we're talking about now are easily into the tens of millions. This last, most recent attack, they offered $70 million for the campaign key, which is the key that would have unlocked every single computer encrypted during that attack. So we're talking high-stakes games here."

That's a pretty crazy total, and shows that these ransomware attacks aren't just niche little crimes - they're big and organized, and all the scarier for it.

Hopefully, though, the fact that more and more hackers are taking on legitimate work like this guy means that there will be more of a line of defence for businesses and individuals affected by ransomware attacks, so that they become a less reliable moneymaker for criminals.

Featured Image Credit: VICE