The Most Scandalous Dark Web Cases

Ruheni Mathenge  - Streaming Expert
Last updated: April 30, 2024
Read time: 11 minutes

Discover the most notorious cases on the dark web.


The dark web refers to a strange, unusually dangerous part of the internet. You can find everything here not available on the surface web, including stolen data, confidential chats, illegal products and more. Many cases have come to light in recent years. In this article, we have listed the most infamous and scandalous cases that happened on the dark web.


The dark web is a paradoxical corner of the internet where intrigue and danger coexist. It is a shadowy place with everything from illicit goods, clandestine chat rooms, stolen identities, whistleblowers, academic papers, and more.

We will look at the 10 most notorious dark web cases. Although we’ll highlight thrilling and fascinating stories, sensitive topics are investable as this is a shadowy realm. Therefore, readers should exercise discretion.

Dark web notorious cases quick overview

  1. The Silk Road: This sinister marketplace on the dark web was shut down in 2013. Customers could get virtually anything from drugs, weapons, and other illegal items and content.
  2. Evite Blackmailing: Evite, a social planning website, was hit with a massive data breach that affected the personal information of 10 million users.
  3. No Love Deep Web Reality Game: Death Grips, a hip-hop group, created an alternate reality game to promote their album ‘No Love Deep Web.’
  4. Steakandcheese are growing in popularity: These websites showcase extremely graphic and violent videos.
  5. The Hidden Wiki: The Hidden Wiki is a significant milestone in dark web exploration as it organizes and collects popular dark web links.
  6. Peter Scully case: Peter recorded heinous acts of torture, murder, and sexual assaults against minors and shared them on the dark web. He is currently serving a life sentence.
  7. Hieu Minh Ngo’s apprehension: Hieu Minh was a fraudster who used the dark web for fraud and identity theft. He was arrested and sentenced to 6 years in jail.
  8. Julian Assange: Julian has been entangled in legal trouble since 2010 for revealing classified information and founding WikiLeaks, a whistleblower platform.
  9. Edward Snowden: He is a former NSA and CIA employee who revealed classified information on population and surveillance by the government.
  10. The hitman scams: The dark web has many hitman-for-hire services, many of which have been proven fake.

What is the dark web? 

Imagine the internet is like a giant iceberg floating in the ocean. The small visible part above the water is the surface web that we use every day and is easily accessible with regular web browsers like Firefox and Google.

Tor browser 600x300

The dark web is like the big submerged part of the iceberg. It is the part of the internet where you cannot access web pages and domains with a regular search engine. You can only visit the dark web with special tools like the Tor Browser.

10 notorious cases on the dark web

Most Notorious Dark Web Cases

Usually, the dark web is associated with illegal activities. However, it also includes other legitimate stuff like open discussion forums, whistleblower support platforms, research and education material, censored information, etc.

Nonetheless, the dark web hosts shady activities like human trafficking, child pornography, red rooms, and much more. Our list may include horrifying incidences, so if you are faint-hearted or suffer from any anxiety or stress disorder, you can skip the number:

1. The Silk Road

This infamous marketplace on the dark web operated between 2011 and 2013 with a total sale revenue of 9.5 million bitcoins (almost $411 billion with the current exchange rate). The creator, Ross Ulbricht (Dread Pirates Roberts), is estimated to have grossed over $13 million in the site’s two years of operation.

The platform was a real dark market where merchants sold their products as they would on Amazon or eBay. Drugs, guns, or other illegal products and content were just a few clicks and Bitcoins away. You could literally buy anything you want.

Ross was eventually apprehended in 2013 through investigative techniques and operational security mistakes on his part. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for creating and operating the platform. However, similar platforms like DeepBay, Sheep Marketplace, RAMP, and Black Market Reloaded are still operational on the dark web.

2. Evite blackmailing 

Evite, a popular social planning service, was hacked, and the personal information of millions of users was compromised in 2019.

Since Evite is a massive platform, the privacy and security of its members are paramount. So, a security breach isn’t something anyone would want except those behind it. 

Gnostic players were the hackers behind the breach and didn’t release the data to the public. Instead, he demanded $1,900 in Bitcoin from Evite. This was peanuts as the breached data could have cost the company millions of dollars in settlement.

Evite refused to pay, and the hacker started selling the data on the dark web. However, the marketplace in which he was selling the data was closed. That was the last time we heard about the story.

3. No Love Deep web reality game 

In 2012, clues were set up like a treasure hunt on the dark web that enabled players to finish a thrilling alternate reality game. Several encryption methods like QR codes, Ceaser cipher, and Morse code were employed to hide the hints. 

Apparently, this was not the doing of cybercriminals or the recruitment of a secret government agency. Rather, a hip-hop group called Death Grips created the game to promote their new album, No Love Deep Web.

4. Steakandcheese growing popularity

Steakandcheese are websites that post gruesome and graphic violet videos. The increasing popularity of these platforms shows the shadowy part of the dark web.

You’ll encounter these things on the dark web if you are not careful. So, don’t click on a link if you don’t know where it leads to be on the safe side.

Surprisingly, the Steakandcheese website was indexed by Google in the 2000s. Back then, people could access websites with gruesome videos on the surface of the web. Luckily, such websites are no longer available through Google.

5. The Hidden Wiki 

Exploring the dark web is more difficult than the regular surface web. There isn’t a search engine that can index all the available URLs, and someone has to send you the link if you want something unpopular.

Before the Hidden Wiki, traversing the dark web was a daunting task. This extensive directory of popular dark websites facilitates a seamless navigation of the hidden digital world. The advent of the Hidden Wiki marked a crucial turning point of the dark web exploration, demonstrating its potential as a tool for whistleblowers and oppressed communities.

6. Peter Scully case

This is one of the most horrifying stories on this list. Peter Scully, an Australian citizen, is serving a life sentence in the Philippines after being convicted of raping minors and human trafficking. He is also on trial for torture, murder, and spreading child pornography. In fact, he did all these horrifying acts, recorded and uploaded them on the dark web.

7. Hieu Minh Ngo’s apprehension

Hieu Minh Ngo did wire frauds, identity thefts, and device frauds on the dark web. However, he was arrested by the US Secret Service in 2013.

He was lured to travel to the US for a lucrative business deal selling huge financial and personal data on the dark web. However, there wasn’t such a deal, and his business partner was an undercover agent who arrested him.

Minh was imprisoned for six years and released in 2019. He currently works at Vietnam’s National Cybersecurity Center.

8. Julian Assange

WikiLeaks is a popular whistleblower website that broadcasts classified material and state secrets. It has published top-secret information, including the 2016 US presidential election, confidential communication between US diplomats, and the Iraq War.

The US government wasn’t amused with the revelation of its classified information. So, they put an international warrant on Julian Assange, the owner and publisher of WikiLeaks, for sexual assault allegations. He was granted asylum by Ecuador and lived in its London embassy.

However, he fell out with the Ecuadorian authorities, and the asylum was withdrawn in 2019. The police were invited into the embassy, and Assange was arrested. He was charged for breaching the Bail Act and jailed for 50 weeks.

The US unveiled new indictments against Assange and charged him under the Espionage Act 1917. Currently, he is confined in HM Prison Belmarsh awaiting trial.

9. Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is a former CIA and NSA employee who became famous for whistleblowing about population mass surveillance by the government. He shared the documents and details about the PRISM surveillance program on the dark web.

Snowden immediately escaped the US, and his passport was canceled while in transit through Russia, where he filed for political asylum. This has become his permanent residence.

Although his actions remain contentious, he catapulted the debate about mass surveillance. Moreover, it raised awareness of the potential abuse of government power and the lengths they can go to prevent the public from finding out the information.

10. The hitman scams 

The dark web is known to harbor many sites that offer hitmen services. Due to the dark web’s reputation, many people believed they could hire hitmen for a hefty Bitcoin fee.

Reddit is full of stories of people allegedly hiring hitmen on the dark web, and you can find fake (but posing as real) hitman services with minimal effort. There is even a captivating story of how a person hired a hitman on himself to have fun. Unfortunately, most of these services aren’t legitimate.

In fact, The New York Times explored these services on the dark web and found they were all scams. The fraudsters take the money and ghost the buyers.

How to stay safe on the dark web 


These 10 cases highlight the happenings on the dark web, and we hope they have made you curious to visit that part of the internet. It is a fascinating digital landscape, and accessing it isn’t a crime. 

Nonetheless, you should always be careful and take necessary safety measures before exploring the unknown. Apart from not sharing your sensitive information and avoiding clicking on random links, there are other things you can do to improve your security on the dark web. 

  • Install reliable antivirus software on your device. It will protect you in case you accidentally visit the wrong website.
  • Use a VPN to conceal your IP address when on the dark web. It will also encrypt your traffic and make it seem like you connect from a different location.

Finally, use common sense when surfing or sharing things on the internet, especially the dark web. 

Best VPNs for the dark web

What is a VPN

Below, we have listed the best VPNs for the dark web.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN for Streaming

With this VPN, you can access unsafe and unreliable platforms with maximum security and anonymity.

servers Over 5,500 secure VPN servers scattered in over 60 countries
Ad Blocker feature Reliable Threat protection (malware, tracking, and ad blocker)
encryption Industry standard, most secure encryption available: AES-256
Kill switch A user-friendly kill switch feature
Split tunneling feature A split tunneling feature with high functionality
MultiHop mode Offers multi-hop VPN for double encryption
tor compatible Provides seamless Onion over VPN functionality
Zero-logs policy Ensures that no logging is done
simultaneous connections Users can connect up to six devices simultaneously with each account
money-back guarantee A 30-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked
  • A reliable Meshnet feature
  • Reliable protects against IP/DNS leaks
  • A tested no-logging policy
  • OpenVPN protocol isn’t user-friendly

NordVPN is a reputable VPN that lets you visit the dark web safely and anonymously. It has all the features you’ll need for this endeavor.

A VPN is as good as its security features. It offers AES-256-bit encryption, a military-grade algorithm that will make your data look gibberish. This will prevent malicious actors in the dark from intercepting your connections.


The kill switch feature is also essential when accessing the dark web. It will cut off your traffic in case the VPN connection drops. As a result, your IP and other sensitive information will not leak if the VPN stops working.

Besides security, VPN employs several measures to improve your privacy. For example, it uses RAM-based servers that wipe all the information after every session. Also, the provider adheres to a strict no-logs policy, which means it doesn’t log your data. Finally, the company is based in Panama, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.

2. ExtremeVPN

ExtremeVPN VPN block logo

An effective VPN provider that ensures safe and secure browsing and helps you stay anonymous while surfing the dark web.

servers Owns a network of over 6,500 servers present across 78 countries worldwide
encryption Utilizes up-to-date security protocols, including AES-256 encryption
P2P optimized servers Supports distributed file sharing through P2P connections
Zero-logs policy Doesn’t collect users’ data
Kill switch Includes a unique kill switch feature to block data leakage
Split tunneling feature Offers flexible data routing through split tunneling feature
tor compatible Boasts Tor over VPN servers for stealth protection
simultaneous connections Offers 10 simultaneous devices to be connected at once
protection Provides protection against IP/DNS leaks
money-back guarantee Has a refund policy of 30 days
  • Prevents IP/DNS leaks
  • Doesn’t store or log users data
  • A top-of-the-line encryption method
  • Doesn’t have double encryption

ExtremeVPN is another reliable VPN to access the dark web because of its utmost privacy, advanced security features, and excellent speed.


Apart from AES 256-bit encryption, the highest level of encryption available, VPN uses Quantum Resistant Encryption Keys to protect you from hackers. Also, its IPv6 leak protection will guarantee anonymity from trackers, ISPs, hackers, and other spies on the dark web.

The kill switch will disable your internet traffic when the connection fails. This will prevent your IP address and other private data from leaking. The feature (the ‘Enable IKS’ option) is reliable and works as long as the VPN is active.

It is one of the most affordable VPN services and supports many payment methods, including PayPal and credit cards. Also, the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Many things happen on the dark web; the above cases are just a small fraction. On one hand, it hosts illegal activities like the sale of stolen data, illicit drugs, hacking services, firearms, etc. On the other hand, whistleblowers can leverage it for privacy and security reasons. Nonetheless, you should install an antivirus to prevent malware threats and use a VPN to anonymize your connections.


Cybercriminals on the dark web can distribute malware ransomware or conduct phishing attacks. Also, the dark web has many scams designed to trick you into revealing your personal information and paying for goods and services that may never be delivered. Despite efforts to remain anonymous, you can still be vulnerable to identity exposure.

Despite the anonymity of the dark web, malicious websites can still infect your device with malware. So, it is crucial to install an effective antivirus. Also, you should use a VPN to mask your IP address and anonymize your connections. 

Accessing the dark web is perfectly legal. However, you should employ dependable security features to protect your connections. For example, you can install an antivirus and a VPN. 

No. A New York Times research proved that most sites advertising for hitman services are fake.

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About the Author

Ruheni Mathenge

Ruheni Mathenge

Streaming Expert
201 Posts

Tech researcher and writer with a passion for cybersecurity. Ruheni Mathenge specializes in writing long-form content dedicated to helping individuals and businesses navigate and understand the constantly evolving online security and web freedom worlds. He specializes in VPNs, online anonymity, and encryption. His articles have appeared in many respected technology publications. Ruheni explains complicated technical concepts clearly and simply. He advocates digital freedom and online privacy at every level.

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