Honeypot [noun] – a trap set to detect, deflect, or in some manner counteract attempts to access a computer system, generally consisting of a computer, data, or a network site that appears to be part of a network, but is actually isolated and monitored, and which seems to contain information or a resource of value to visitors.
Note: I tried to keep technical details in their own sections.
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Before discoursing the lengthy analysis of the Dark Web honeypots (there were three), let’s answer the question that is surely on everyone’s mind – did the honeypot allow me to reveal the true identity of the person visiting the Tor site?
In many cases enough evidence was gathered to provide a pretty good guess or at least a good launching point for identification of the person that visited the site.
Surprisingly, in some cases, the identity of the person was undeniably revealed and included the person’s name, unique personal computer footprint, and true external IP address (see partial data example above).
And to answer the second question, “no”, this did not require the placement of malicious malware. Although this project was initially intended to secretly track the activities and behavior of three types of Tor users – those interested in or seeking counterfeiting services, illegal drug products, and pedophiles – the faux-pedophile Tor hidden service struck a particularly disheartening chord with me.
First, the pedo site saw magnitudes more traffic than the counterfeiting or drugs websites – in the order of 100 times more traffic than the other two combined.