This article spawns from a conversation on the nature of the “Deep Web” and/or the “Dark Web,” and what is the difference and why.

The “why” is “Why does it matter to me the reader?” It should. It’s your Internet.  To quote William Gibson in Neuromancer: “Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the non-space of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…” Your Internet contains parents, children, teachers, students, terrorists, criminals, corporations, entrepreneurs, and of course hackers.

Hackers. I am a hacker. I’m a console cowboy.  I’m not the modern definition of said occupation, which has taken on the most disgusting overtones and pejorative connotations. The origin of the word hacker really arose out of one location…The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Tech Model Railroad Club.

Prior to the advent of computing, the club dealt with “switches” in terms of trains and control systems in relation to analog control systems related to power. Later, “The club’s members, who shared a passion to find out how things worked and then to master them, were among the first hackers. The atmosphere was casual; members disliked authority. Members received a key to the room after logging 40 hours of work on the layout,” according to Stephen Levy in his book “Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution”. 

This is also why I work with my local Hackspace now. According to the TMRC Dictionary, a dictionary created to collect the jargon that arose out of the culture, a “hack” is “1) an article or project without constructive end; 2) work undertaken on bad self-advice; 3) an entropy booster; 4) to produce, or attempt to produce, a hack (3).” Remember, information should be free.

I hack on my free time, and I do it on my “box” or console. I got friends out there too. If you can think of a certain patriotic hacker, you probably have heard of him as well. I also hack for the United States Government. That’s part of my R&D function. I use expl01ts, vulns, scripts (I code in Python), and Linux. I use the aforementioned tools against data, and I create simulated/virtualized environments to test “hacks.”

A good example of this is MetaGooFil. Per their webpage, “Metagoofil is an information gathering tool designed for extracting metadata of public documents (pdf,doc,xls,ppt,docx,pptx,xlsx) belonging to a target company.” This information then gets input into high-end analytic programs, separately, to take the data I retrieve to the USG. No. I do not work for the NSA. Yes, I am immoral. In summary, I use tools that would otherwise be used to exploit vulnerable computer systems against massive amounts of data because current tools are not meeting specific goals. I could be buying a Lotus in ten days or less.