Two years ago, we published an article of the top 5 ethical and unethical hacker forums on the internet. Time has passed since, and most of them don’t exist anymore. In this article, we will list and document the newest forums for both networks — the “ClearNet” and “DarkWeb”. Before we get into this, it is important to recognize what the “DarkWeb” is, and its major differences with the “ClearNet”.
Simply put, the “DarkWeb”, also known as “TOR or DeepWeb” is an uncensored and unregulated internet network. When it comes to unethical hackers or cybercriminals, this is their primary channel of communication.
Moreover, most of DarkWeb forums are scarce and extremely controversial, principally because they host highly illegal content — usually in the form of a marketplace.
“ClearNet” is what we now perceive as “Internet”. This is what we use to watch cats’ videos on YouTube or to access our Facebook. Cybersecurity forums on this network are predominantly for educational purposes, although sometimes they could be borderline illegal.
Now that we have established basic concepts for this chapter let’s dig into the solid content.
Top 5 Hacker Forums In The ClearNet:
Hackforums.net: One or the most recognized public hacking forums. Most of the content is only accessible for registered users but registration is open and doesn’t require an invitation from any member. This forum has a wide content network, from low-skilled users to advanced techniques. The rules on this forum prohibit illegal activities. Great place to start if you are unfamiliar with hacking.
0x00sec.org: Rather new, yet highly recommended hacker forum. It has fantastic tutorials, direct recommendation from members, and free to use security tools. This forum doesn’t require a registration to access most of the content or downloads.
www.hackthissite.org: This forum offers a free and legal way to train yourself as a hacker. They have several projects to test and improve your abilities as a hacker, from a beginner stand point to industry experts. Looking for a more practical approach? This forum is what you need.
hak5.org: Active community with fresh content, including Application and Coding, Wifi Security, Projects, USB hacks and much more. You don’t need to be a registered member to read the content of most posts.
exploit-db.com: Although this isn’t just a forum, it has the latest security exploits used in hacker forums. It also has tutorials and security papers with detailed intelligence about the security bugs.
Top 5 Hacker Forums In The DarkWeb:
HackWeb Onion: Forum focused on cryptography, illegal hacking services, hardware modifications and virus programming. This is only accessible thru the TOR network.
CrimeNetwork – Unleased Scene –: One of the most active forums on the dark web. Most threads are in German and English. Their marketplace offers defaced web servers, fake identifications documents, stolen credit cards and customized security services.
RatsArmy: The content of this forum is mainly in Spanish. Its marketplace offers hacking tools, exploits, programming services and cracking services.
DarkC0de: One of the most secretive forums, it offers private exploits and malware. The web address is constantly changing — which makes it hard to detect unless you are a well-known member of the community.
0Day: Marketplace of 0Day(unpublished) private exploits. They offer paid and free exploits, security vulnerabilities are targeted to popular applications such as WordPress, Kubernetes, Adobe Flash, and more.
The DarkWeb is not a place to play if you don’t know what you are doing, keep in mind that most real cybercriminals use this method to conduct their business. By researching on both worlds, you will improve your personal knowledge which will allow you to better improve your applications or the cybersecurity infrastructure of your organization.
A common misconception of people that are trying to learn to hack is thinking the DarkWeb provides the best content value. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, public forums in the ClearNet are well suited to give fresh and quality content at all levels — from beginners to advanced users.
Most of the DarkWeb forums are focused on illegal activities, neither on learning nor improving your information security skills. However, they offer a view from a cybercriminal perspective, which allows you to better protect yourself by knowing better their hacking techniques.
Jaime Manteiga is the CEO & CTO of Venkon. He is a dynamic information security professional and researcher who assists organizations across the world by improving their information security posture and cybersecurity challenges.