The Hidden Wiki: How It Works

Surely each of you who came across the TOR network has heard of The Hidden Wiki. The Hidden Wiki is the main directory for .onion resources in a wide variety of areas. What is important noted by the creators - the placed links in the catalog do not pass any censorship, but in fact this is not so, but more on that later. Many who first start using the TOR network initially go to the Hidden Wiki and start exploring the Onion network from here. In this article I will tell you how the Hidden Wiki tricks users and monetizes all its traffic.

A bit of history

Initially, the first versions of the Hidden Wiki appeared in 2005-2007 and was located at 6sxoyfb3h2nvok2d.onion . Later in 2009, the Hidden Wiki was restarted and its address became kpvz7ki2v5agwt35.onion . In March 2014, the domain was hacked and redirected everyone to the Doxbin website, and in November 2014 the website showed a message about the arrest of the domain. After these events, the site moves again and becomes available at zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion , where it is located to this day. It is about this version of the Hidden Wiki that I will discuss further. And now the site is experiencing new times and its new version is already available at gxamjbnu7uknahng.onion. It is on this version that Russian Wikipedia is now leading. I also want to note that throughout the existence of The Hidden Wiki, there were many clones and copies of this site that were not related to the main directory. It is also impossible to say for certain that the current version of The Hidden Wiki is owned by the same people who created it. It is possible that every move of The Hidden Wiki was associated with a change in its main owners.

The Hidden Wiki - Big Fraud

I will consider the version of zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion, which was available from the end of 2014 to the current time, and which is now slowly dying. Considering that the redirection from the kpvz7ki2v5agwt35.onion domain now leads to this version, and the kpvz7ki2v5agwt35.onion domain has been the main one since 2009, we can say with 99% probability that the versions of 2009 and 2014 have the same owners.


On the Hidden Wiki, the homepage is closed for editing. In order to be able to edit it, you need to register and enter the autoconfirmed users group. The administration of the resource initially stated that 24 hours pass from the moment of registration to joining the autoconfirmed group. In mid-November 2014, by registering a user on the Hidden Wiki, I received autoconfirmed status sometime towards the end of December 2014. Then the process of obtaining status took ~ 1 month. The status was obtained automatically simply over time. From July-September 2015, the administrators of The Hidden Wiki decided not to let new people into the opportunity to make changes to the Wiki and the account registered in November 2015 is still in an unverified status.

After going through the registration phase in December 2014, I posted several links to my resources in the Hidden Wiki directory. For some links in the description, I indicated that I was ready to use "Escrow" (the guarantor for the transaction). My links were successfully posted, but it was this description that was deleted, the administration of the resource explained it this way: "All users of the Hidden Wiki should be in equal conditions . " My question is why the links placed in the first positions have the opportunity to write about Escrow, but I haven’t, they didn’t explain to me.


Immediately after the New Year on January 10, 2015, all my links begin to be deleted from the Hidden Wiki by users unknown to me, attempts to restore them lead to nothing, the administration does not pay any attention to what is happening. Right there on my profile page in the Hidden Wiki, a user Balkanm writes to me and asks to contact him at torchat at ayertivdautoe3fc . Balkanm is one of the administrators of the Hidden Wiki:

Correspondence in TorChat sets strict conditions for me: I have 24 hours to translate 5 BTC, in return the administration will post my links at positions 8 to 11 and promise full protection and protection against vandalism, and in case of failure, all my links will be deleted . 5 BTC at that time was equal to ~ 1500 $. At the same time, the administration on the official pages stated that it does not charge for linking and there is no censorship in the Hidden Wiki. I agreed and fulfilled the conditions.

Later I managed to find out the following things.

All the links that were placed in the first place in the Hidden Wiki belonged to Balkanm. Balkanm owned a card store (http://slwc4j5wkn3yyo5j.onion/ - Premium Cards), an electronics store (ftec4org3hcpnoir.onion - Apple Palace), its own Escrow service BigEscrow (k5vbzl3ucwsjf2ye.onion), and so on. For 50% of the sum of each of my sales, Balkanm offered me the services of his Escrow service. The buyer’s money, of course, was proposed to be divided among themselves. It has long been clear that the Hidden Wiki administration is tricking naive users. Also, one of the proofs that all these services belong to one person was the unexpected mod_status found on these fraudulent sites. It was clearly seen on it that all these services are contained on one server:

The scheme worked simply: administrators had a fairly large traffic of new users who heard about the Hidden Wiki as the largest trusted resource, and decided to monetize this traffic. We added our resources to the first places catalog (counterfeit money, cards, drugs, etc.) and created a fake Escrow service. Users themselves suggested using the services of this Escrow service. According to my rough estimates, Balkanm's monthly income was more than $ 50,000. In addition to this, you can add income from the patronage of new users.

Redistribution of the market and greed

In June 2015, all my links from the Hidden Wiki were again removed. The administration no longer wanted money, many other links of other users were deleted, and non-specialized and not very profitable sections (pedophilia, drugs, etc.) were also deleted. Since June 2015, the administration has ceased to give new users the right to edit the home page. The main reason - they did not want to have competition, and wanted to get as much money as possible from new users on their resources. Zayaya was appointed the new moderator , whose main task was to remove new links posted by old users, although he was not included in the administrative group.

Another wiki was recently created at gxamjbnu7uknahng.onion, links to which are now actively appearing and deleted in the old wiki. By whom and for what purpose another Hidden Wiki was created is not yet known. Whether this was a split within the administration of the previous wiki or whether the dissatisfied owners of onion resources that lose traffic created a new wiki remains a mystery.

The conclusion from all this suggests itself: do not trust anything that is posted on the Hidden Wiki, in most cases this is fraud, and Escrow services that should help you save your money only help to steal them faster.

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