OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - When most people call up their browsers, they are typically only accessing 16 percent of the internet. Lurking behind the silly cat videos, social media, and all that is indexed and searchable with Google and Yahoo! is a world known as the Dark Net.
Here web users can find a global village of hackers, scientists, and government black ops. It's a black market for drugs, guns, fake passports and even human trafficking.
“It’s essentially the Wild West of the internet,” said Mark Lanterman, a former police detective turned computer forensic specialist. He says he is blown away by what he finds on the Dark Net.
It's where stolen credit card numbers from Target ended up. It’s where someone can buy stolen iPhones at bargain prices and handguns from a distributor who claims to be in the Midwest. Illegal drugs are also up for sale.
Some sites look like the Amazon of narcotics, bragging about how they've cut out the middle man, offering "the best quality product at competitive prices," delivered right to your door.
"The Dark Net is all about customer service because they want your repeat business," said Lanterman.
Payment is always in the cyber currency bitcoin which is virtually untraceable. And it's easy to see why given some of the services for sale.
Dark Net users can find a 'rent-a-hacker' for business espionage, or a personal vendetta, who promises to "ruin someone financially or get them arrested." A hitman is also available, there are three contract killers advertising that they will do the job in Europe, USA, and Canada. The only rules are "no kids under 16 and no top 10 politicians."
Additionally, U.S. citizenship is for sale, with passports and social security cards. One site even claims to have an insider at the U.S. State Department, who will provide someone with a real U.S. passport under an assumed name for $800.
The Dark Net is also finding its way into homes and automobiles. Earlier this year, Wired magazine showed how they could remotely hack a Jeep Cherokee through a cellular connection to its entertainment system, even killing the engine on a busy highway.
Via the Dark Net, Lanterman demonstrated how a hacker can access a backdoor into the controls the ventilation and water boiler system at a San Francisco hospital. He said the IP address was easily searchable on the Dark Net, and the device connected to the internet had no password.
Lanterman said he contacted the hospital to warn them about the security breach, but was unsuccessful in reaching anybody who would take him seriously. 2 Investigates has chosen not to identify the hospital because we were unable to confirm whether the problem has since been solved.
Lanterman was also able to hack into a home video camera, as well as the controls of 7,000 wind turbines in the Midwest. Almost all without passwords, they could be shut down, in a click.
"Anything connected to the internet is vulnerable because if you can connect to them, an attacker can as well," said Lanterman.