The Dark Web Dictionary: Definitions for the entire Dark Web

Dark Web Dictionary

The dark web is full of specialized jargon and technical talk. Many people active on the dark web use abbreviations that are not clear to newcomers. That is why a brief summary of commonly used terms can be helpful. 

If you want to know more, you can read our article on the dark web or our guide that tells you how to get there. In addition, we have a list of websites on the dark web that may be worth visiting.


2FA is short for Two-Factor Authentication. It’s a more elaborate way to keep an account safe. Rather than relying solely on your password, with 2FA you must log in a second time to gain access to your account. It is usually done with a code that is sent to your smartphone. This method makes it more difficult for criminals to hack into your account.


Alphabay was the largest market on the dark web after the closure of Silk Road, the original market. When Silk Road closed, most shoppers flocked to Alphabay. However, after a few years, Alphabay was also removed by the police.


Blockchain is the underlying technology of Bitcoin. It works like a public ledger to ensure compliance for all its users. Theoretically, it eliminates the need for private banks.


A botnet is a network of devices that have been infected with a virus. As a result, the hacker can use all these infected devices at the same time. These networks can be used in DDoS attacks and are sometimes sold on the dark web.


Bridges are nodes that you can use to access the Tor network, even if this network is prohibited in your country. A bridge will make it appear that you are entering the network from a different location. Because of this, local restrictions no longer apply. Some users also use it as a way to prevent their ISP from knowing that they accessed the Tor network. 

Because the number of bridges is limited, it is frowned upon to use them for frivolous reasons. Especially since users in some countries need this kind of program to get freedom online.


BTC is the acronym given to Bitcoins. It is still the most used and popular cryptocurrency.


Simply put, clearnet is everything you can find on the Internet through a search engine like Google. This is all the websites that are publicly available and that do not require any type of registration or login credentials. However, this does not mean that websites that require a login are not part of clearnet.


CP is short for Child Pornography. Unfortunately, the dark web contains several paedophile networks through which its members can exchange illegal content. It is an ongoing process for law enforcement agencies around the world trying to eliminate these networks. 

Even hacktivists, such as the Anonymous group, have acted against this type of behaviour. Unfortunately, the problem persists. Perpetrators are occasionally arrested and convicted. However, the vast majority of these communities persist.


Darknet is synonymous with dark web. Although some opinions on the definition vary, the two terms are mainly used interchangeably.

Hidden Wiki

Hidden Wiki is a well-known page on the dark web. At first glance, it looks a lot like Wikipedia. However, in Hidden Wiki you will find links to pages on the dark web grouped into different categories. This helps users navigate the dark web. If you find yourself on Hidden Wiki, you really should be careful not to click on a link to something you wouldn’t like to see.


HS is short for ‘Hidden Services’. These are services found on the dark web that are hidden because they do not track the IP address of their users or broadcast their own IP address. Communication is allowed, but all channels are hidden.


LEA and LE are short for ‘Law Enforcement Agencies / Law Enforcement’. These acronyms are used in chat rooms by those who want to keep out of their hands. Law enforcement agencies are present and active in the dark web markets and are trying to catch criminals red-handed. 

Know your rights and do not do anything illegal. There is nothing illegal about investigating or browsing the dark web.

Mysterious boxes

Mystery boxes on the dark web were crazy on YouTube. The YouTubers acted as if they were ordering mystery boxes on the dark web and opening them in front of the camera. While these videos may seem very creepy and exciting, they are most likely completely fake.


.Onion is the dark web version of .com. It is the most used domain suffix on the dark web. It got its name from The Onion Router (Tor). The Tor browser is used to access the dark web.

OS (Live or Host)

OS is short for Operating System. A live operating system can be an operating system that is temporarily loaded from software such as VirtualBox. A host operating system is the operating system that you are using on your computer, that is, Windows or macOS.


PGP is short for ‘Pretty Good Privacy’. This is a cryptographic method that hundreds of thousands of people use daily to communicate anonymously and securely.

Red rooms

Red rooms are a common myth of the dark web. Many people claim that there are certain types of websites where multiple people pay a fee to get access to a live broadcast where they can see someone being tortured. Fortunately, there have never been any reports of red rooms that were truly legitimate.

Satoshi Nakamoto

Satoshi Nakamoto is probably a pseudonym for the creator and architect of Bitcoins. However, it is possible, and more plausible, that several people collaborated to create the bitcoins.

Silk Road

Silk Road was the original “success story” of the dark web. A young man created a free market economy for users to compete. It was closed in 2013 and was primarily known for being a market for drugs and weapons.


Tails (The Amnesiac Incognito Live System) is an operating system that you can load from a USB drive to browse the dark web anonymously. Once you close the system, no information about your activities with the computer will have been stored.


Tor is short for The Onion Router. This is the protocol that allows you to visit the dark web. The Tor browser is the most used browser to visit the dark web.


A seller is a person who tries to sell goods or services on the dark web in a particular market.


VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. A VPN is used to encrypt your data and protect your privacy online.


A whistleblower is someone who exposes the crimes of a company or organization to the world. They often get this inside information because they work for the organization in question. 

Whistleblowers generally want to remain anonymous, and otherwise they will be fired or sued for sharing secret information. For this reason, many whistleblowers use the dark web to contact journalists anonymously.