Dark web shrinking

The number of dark web services has gone down significantly following the Freedom Hosting II hack that took place at the start of February.

According to a new OnionScan report, only 4,400 services exist on the dark web. This is significantly down on last year when the number of dark web services was pitched at 30,000.

According to Sarah Jamie Lewis, the main researcher behind the OnionScan report, at the heart of this dramatic drop in numbers is the downfall of Freedom Hosting II, a dark web hosting service.

A previous report from October 2016, also by Lewis, estimated that Freedom Hosting II hosted around a fifth of the entire dark web.

“We believe that the Freedom Hosting II takedown not only removed many thousands of active sites but also may have affected other hosting providers who were hosting some infrastructure on top of Freedom Hosting II,” Lewis explained.

Anonymous hacked Freedom Hosting II at the start of February this year after they discovered the provider was knowingly providing service to many websites hosting images of sexually abused children.

The dark web is now down to 4,000 HTTP websites, 250 TLS (HTTPS) endpoints, 100 SMTP services, and only 10 FTP nodes.

Lewis also notes that despite previous reports of improperly configured of dark web servers, the number of installations leaking details about the underlying server has remained at the same levels.