Here's a quick glossary of terms you might find useful in both understanding and navigating the dark web.


Alias: A screen name intended to conceal a user's identity, with little to no ties to the user's actual personal information.

Atomwaffen Division:  a neo-Nazi organization eager for a race war and committed to terrorist attacks against Jews, immigrants, and other targets in the U.S.


Bitcoin: a cryptocurrency; a decentralized digital currency without a central bank.

Bitcoin miner: a computer that records and verifies the validity of bitcoin transactions before adding them to a public record, or blockchain. Bitcoin miners are the decentralized equivalent of a banking authority that verifies whether non-virtual payments are valid. There are millions of bitcoin miners worldwide competing to validate transactions and receive compensation (in bitcoin) for their efforts.

Black hat: a hacker who seeks and takes advantage of security vulnerabilities illegally, usually for personal or financial gain.

Blockchain: a public record of cryptocurrency transactions. Transaction information, such as date, amount, and recipient, are stored in a “block.” When transaction information is verified, it is added to the blockchain—a network of other verified blocks.

Botnet: a network of bots (a software robot that runs automated tasks) that is controlled by a hacker for nefarious purposes.

Brute force attack: an automated method of cracking passwords by trial-and-error.


Carding: the act of stealing and selling credit card information.

Chan Boards: Also called ‘imageboards’, Internet forums where users mostly post images. Typically divided into forums by topic. 8chan allows users to create their own forums like Reddit (new boards can only be created by staff on 4chan, so there are under 75)

Clearnet: the non-darknet internet, also known as the “surface web.”

Crawling and indexing: crawling is the act of finding information on the web, while indexing is the act of organizing information into a logical, searchable format. Search engines such as Google index information on the clearweb, whereas information in the deep web or darknet are non-indexed and difficult to search.

Cryptojacking: the act of bitcoin mining by hacking a victim’s bitcoin mining hardware. The hacker reaps the benefits of mining cryptocurrency without the cost of energy, processing power, and hardware required.


Darknet market: a marketplace set up on the darknet for users to list, sell, and purchase goods and services anonymously.

Deep Web (OpenBazaar, IRC, Zeronet, Openweb): Dynamic pages, encrypted networks, online communities. Available in the surface web, but difficult to discover by means of everyday search engines. Not indexed by search engines like Google/Bing/Yahoo and otherwise only accessible by a specific group of individuals.

Discord: Discord is a voice over IP and messaging program. Although used by the gaming community, Discord has evolved to be an instant messaging platform for many communities online, including the alt-right.

DoS (Denial of Service): an attack in which a hacker floods a server with meaningless network traffic. This makes websites slow or inaccessible as a means of extortion.

Dox: an attack in which a hacker finds and exposes personal information publicly as a means of harassment or extortion.


Electric Boogaloo:in the neonazi corners of the internet "boogaloo" is code for the coming race war, as in Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo

Encryption: the process of converting information into code to prevent unauthorized access.


Firewall: a hardware or software system that prevents unauthorized data access by using specific security rules to monitor and direct incoming and outgoing traffic.

Fullz: packages of an individual’s personal identifying information, often sold by hackers on the darknet. Fullz typically contain names, SSNs, birth dates, and bank account information. 


Grey hat: a hacker who seeks and takes advantage of security vulnerabilities illegally, usually to make a political statement or to harass or shame an individual or organization.


High Score: code used in the gamification of mass violence. The highest number of kills "achieved" in a mass shooter incident. 


I2P (Invisible Internet Project): is an anonymous network layer that allows for censorship-resistant, peer-to-peer communication.

IP (Internet Protocol Address): a numerical identifier that connects a computer to a network. A device’s IP indicates who is using a computer and where they are located.

IRC (Internet Relay Chat): an instant messaging application designed for large numbers of users to communicate in real-time. It was created in 1988 and has declined in popularity since 2003 as more users move to social media platforms and other messaging tools.


Malware: malicious software that damages or gains unauthorized access to a computer system.


Open Web: Sites like Pastebin and other "paste" sites, focus on plain-text posts - popular for torrents, hacking data dumps and links to dark web sites.


Pastebin/paste sites: also known as text storage sites, a site where users share source code, text, and breached data.

Phishing: a method of communicating with victims in which a hacker sends emails posing as a reputable organization and requests personal information.


Ransomware: a type of malware that blocks user access to a system until a ransom is paid.

RAT (Remote Access Tool): a type of software that gains remote control of a computer system. A RAT that is used maliciously is called a Remote Access Trojan.  

Rootkit: a collection of malicious software that can hack into a computer system and remain undetected for an extended period of time.


Social engineering: a method of communication in which hackers manipulate victims into exposing confidential or personal information.

Spear phishing: a phishing attack that is more personalized/targeted towards an individual than a bulk email phishing attack.

Spoof: a close copy of an organization’s website or form created by a hacker used to obtain a victim’s personal information. Spoofing is a means of delivering a phishing attack. Spoofing websites and templates, also called scampages, are bought and sold on the darknet.


Telegram: is a cloud-based instant messaging and voice over IP service. Telegram has been used by terrorist groups such as ISIS to recruit and spread propaganda. 

Tor (The Onion Router): An encrypted network built on top of the existing internet, accessible only via the Tor browser.


Vote from the Rooftops: insurrectionist slogan popular in civilian sniper culture.


Whaling: a type of spear phishing that targets upper management in an organization.

White hat: a hacker who aims to help organizations find security vulnerabilities in their systems.