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Delving into the dark web
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Q. I work for a law firm and for reasons I obviously can’t go into I need to find out how much it costs to buy a fake (illegal) UK passport. Can you help? 

 

A. For anything illegal, dodgy or black market the place to go is to the dark web; that element of the internet that’s hard to get into, unless you know how.

To begin with, you need to obtain a different type of browser, since Chrome, Firefox and the rest won’t work. Ideally you want to download a browser called Tor which you can get at https://www.torproject.org/download/download. Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, you can then use a search engine to find the information that you need – DuckDuckGo is a good option since it doesn’t track you, but you could also use something called Ichidan, which is available at ichidanv34wrx7m7.onion – most dark web sites have rather strange addresses. Simply then run a search for “fake UK passport” (or something similar) and explore the results. I did a quick check for you and they’re generally in the region of £1,000-£5,000 but obviously I’d advise against parting with any money – though of course you only needed to know the price!

 

Q. Do I need to make my Facebook friends list private?

 

A. It’s a very good idea. If someone tries to spoof or fake an account using your name they will look at your public list of friends and will contact them to say that you’ve got a new account, or they got deleted by accident, and can you ­­re-add them. They can then try out various scams, under your name! So in order to stop this dead in its tracks, log into your Facebook account (PC or laptop rather than phone or tablet), navigate to your timeline and select the ‘Friends’ option under your cover photograph. You should then see a pencil icon to the right OR a down arrow and you can click on that, and select Edit Privacy. I’d recommend either ‘Only Me’ or ‘Friends Only’. That’s all there is to it!

 

SearchLite

 

This month I thought that I’d take a look at how you can find podcasts. There are two real contenders for the title of ‘best podcast search engine’ at the moment, and they are Audiosear.ch and Listennotes.com. Audiosear.ch (the address is in the name) is “a one-stop search and recommendation engine for podcasts. We transcribe, timestamp, tag, cluster, and collect ratings and reviews for thousands of shows” according to their home page. I did a random search for “libraries” and got a reasonable number of results, arranged by “Buzz score”, a kind of relevance ranking.

 

Two options are available; episodes or shows. The display of results was clear and simple to follow. Examples of shows are “Linking Our Libraries” and “Readings, talks and workshops at Dublin City Public Libraries”. Clicking on a link takes you to a page listing the episodes they have available and you can simply click on a “listen” button and get involved straight away.

 

One of the things that I liked about Audiosear.ch was that if you looked at individual episodes of podcasts you could see a timeline highlighting the search terms used, which makes it really easy to jump straight to the exact point in a podcast, rather than having to listen to the entire thing. In summary, it was very easy to use, but I’m not entirely convinced that it has a comprehensive coverage, since several of the podcasts that I specifically looked for weren’t found.

 

Listen Notes describes itself as a ‘podcast search engine that actually works, 359,871 podcasts and 19,127,256 episodes’. As with Audiosear.ch my results could be broken down into episodes or podcasts and arranged by relevance or date. My “libraries” search returned 6,387 episodes (without the timeline option unfortunately, so the competition wins out there) and 157 results of actual podcasts. I was much more impressed with the selection that Listen Notes provided me with and the coverage seemed slightly better. However, in order to properly run a search for podcasts I’d suggest using both engines, since their strengths and weaknesses appear to be complementary.

 

Site of the month

 

My site of the month is Inspirobot.me which is a bot that produces posters with ‘inspirational quotes’ that are composed of random words and random picture. It’s quite addictive and sometimes very
funny indeed.

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