Can you really hire a Hitman on The Dark Web?

SAN FRANCISCO - On a website called Azerbaijani Eagles, you can commission a murder for 5000 dollars. The Slayers Hitmen site provides more options, including beatings for $ 2,000. Death by torture costs $ 50,000.
However, don't expect someone to do the job. The experts and law enforcement officers who have analyzed these sites - almost all in the so-called "dark web" or dark network - say they are scams. There has been no murder attributed to any of them.
That does not mean that the sites are not involved in a very dark trade. They have become points of attraction for real people who want to pay to kill someone. Also, some men and women are in jail after making payments to some of these sites and caught by the police.
In one of the most recent cases that have reached the courts, an Illinois nurse sentenced to twelve years in prison after pleading guilty to sending $ 12,000 in bitcoin to the Sicilian Hitmen International Network site. He wanted their boyfriend's wife killed.

Twenty-four sites of hired killers are the subject of an academic article that Tom Holt, a professor at Michigan State University, and Ariel Roddy, his student, shared in advance with The New York Times.
The article, which is being reviewed for publication, is the first academic initiative that aims to reveal information about what has been a topic of endless intrigue. For years, the possible anonymity granted by the internet has fueled predictions that there would be online death and murder markets.



However, it was the emergence of the "dark web" over the last decade or so, which allowed the proliferation of sites of hired killers. Unlike most traditional internet sites, dark internet sites use technology that allows both ends of online interaction to hide their identity and location, both among users and the police.
"It's a fantastic opportunity to let people down because you give them a sense of danger," said Emily Wilson, director of research at Terbium Labs, a security firm focused on the dark web. "What will you do if they don't comply?"

When the first sites of hired assassins were discovered, a frequent assumption was that the dark web was full of authentic assassins awaiting orders to kill.
The promotional material published on the commercial internet was based on that assumption. A site, which provides readers with a link to the address of the dark network of 18th Street Gang, is advertised as a "guide for real hitmen, facts and stories." The site states that those people who say that the sites of hired assassins are frauds are only trying to prevent people from looking for them.
"The majority of clients commission reliable hired assassins who have proven legitimate," says the site.
In many of the sites analyzed by the Michigan State University team, a considerable effort was made to try to prove their legitimacy so that customers felt comfortable making a payment in bitcoin, the digital currency. Hired killers are not the type of service that is paid with a credit card.
The 18th Street Mafia site includes a page with links to news about actual murders that, he says, helped commit. However, none of the articles indicate that the site, or even a hitman, was responsible.
For the skeptical members of the media, the site comments: "We can provide video evidence of our services, with timestamps. We reiterate that fake services do not have such tests."
The representative of Darkmamba, another site, commented by email that it has been difficult to prove its authenticity because "the point of our services and many others, including clandestine criminal forums, in effect, is to do the job without leaving anything that could be traced the U.S."
"We use castor in most of our jobs and, due to its nature, does not raise much suspicion," said the representative. Castor is a poison found in the seeds of the same name.
One of the most surprising findings of the study was that the prices that these sites charge amply coincide with what other academic research has established is the current price for real-life hitmen, about $ 11,000 in Australia and 18,000 in England.
The most prolific research that has been done has been by Chris Monteiro, a systems administrator in London who, in addition to his daily work, has carried out these missions as a morbid project that he is passionate about.
Monteiro hacked one of the sites created by the most famous provider of murder sites, a character who calls himself Yura.
After entering the site of Besa Mafia and some others, Monteiro found information about 283 people who had paid killer services. He also found messages that suggested that the operators did not intend to carry out the murders.
"I need you to help me make some videos to show that Besa Mafia is an authentic service, but WITHOUT killing anyone," the operator wrote in an email, trying to make a contractor produce videos that look real. "I'm not a murderer, and I don't want anyone killed."

Law enforcement agencies around the world have hesitated to collaborate with Monteiro or use their evidence due to the way he acquired them. However, Monteiro has worked with media organizations, including Wired and 48 Hours, who have communicated their information with police officials, which has led to the arrests of people who paid to the sites to connect them with a hitman.
Monteiro has identified nine cases in which the people he exposed were arrested in connection with murders commissioned. In one of the most terrible cases, a man in Minnesota was arrested after it was discovered that he himself murdered his wife when the hired killer he had commissioned on the Besa Mafia website for about $ 6,000 in bitcoins did not make The mission.
The British National Crime Agency (NCA) monitored and - in collaboration with the Bulgarian police - removed one of the sites Monteiro had investigated: Crime Bay. Its operators were based in Bulgaria.
"Investigations continue, and the NCA will continue to work with international police partners in order to identify users of sites like this," said Lucy Sneddon, a spokesman for the agency.
It is believed that a police detective in Russia was killed by two teenagers who were hired by a drug dealer in the dark net. An investigation by the BBC found that the murder had been hired in one of the broad markets of the "dark net" where drugs and stolen credit cards are sold. According to most accounts, it was the first murder successfully hired on the dark internet.
However, there has not yet been a murder that has been commissioned at one of the sites dedicated to hired killers.
"Why would you set up a specialized website if you know for sure that the police will invade that site trying to find you?" Said Wilson. "You become too big a target."

However, the sites continue to proliferate. A few months ago, a middle-aged executive in Singapore was sentenced to five years in prison after he paid the Camorra Hitman site for the murder of his ex-boyfriend's boyfriend in a fake car accident that, not surprisingly, was never taken finished.
Wilson said these sites take away attention from the real crime that is committed in the dark web, such as drug trafficking and the sites that sell the private information of millions of Americans.
"There is real crime, but we are too busy talking about a guy who wants to kill his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend," he said.

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My Hack Stuff: Can you really hire a Hitman on The Dark Web?
Can you really hire a Hitman on The Dark Web?
There are online stores that sell murders on demand. Researchers warn that they are scams,
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