I have read this article on forbes claiming that deepnet has only 7100 onion sites and took only 3 hours to scan completely.

Which to me sounds like total nonsense since if average .onion address is 16 long (example: http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/) and can be made up from numbers and letters

Then possible combinations are (27+10)^16 = 1.2337512e+25 ((letters + numbers)^symbol-count) which if they would scan 65536 addresses per second (they would need to wait at least one second for response my understanding is that one can only open 65536 connections per machine simultaneously) to scan entire range of addresses they would need 3*60*60*65536 = 707788800 (hours*minutes*seconds*connections-scanning-at-one-time) They would need ((26+10)^16)/(3*60*60*65536) = 1.1244401e+16 machines, which I doubt they have.

Could they have made a scan of all the .onion websites in 3 hours?

  • You might want to have a look at programs like zmap, which is the fastest way of scanning things (no 64k connections limitation). Another approach to estimate a minimal time would be to take the data needed for a proper handshake and multiply and then divide by the fattest line you have available.
    – PlasmaHH
    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:51
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    This is a good question, but Skeptics is not the right place, maybe security.se could be better?
    – Sklivvz
    Sep 30, 2015 at 13:37
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    @Sklivvz Not a good question for security.se because it has nothing to do with security. But we have tor.stackexchange.com especially for questions about TOR and TOR hidden services.
    – Philipp
    Sep 30, 2015 at 14:17
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    @sklivvz: Why is Skeptics not the right place? A notable source has made a claim, and someone wishes to challenge it. Sep 30, 2015 at 14:25
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    Hi @Sklivvz, I would appreciate if you could reopen the question. On other forums people just shaking their heads, since method they used to 'scan' darknet is nowhere to be found. I understand that question is somewhat technical but so are many on skeptics. Thanks. Oct 1, 2015 at 6:16


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