Similarity Analysis of Single-Vendor Marketplaces in the Tor-Network




Tor, vendor sites, similarity detection, feature importance, darknet, offer


Single-vendor shops are darknet marketplaces where individuals offer their own goods or services on their own darknet website. There are many single-vendor shops with a wide range of offers in the Tor-network. This paper presents a method to find similarities between these vendor websites to discover possible operational structures between them. In order to achieve this, similarity values between the darknet websites are determined by combining different features from the categories content, structure and metadata. Our results show that the features HTML-Tag, HTML-Class, HTML-DOM-Tree as well as File-Content, Open Ports and Links-To proved to be particularly important and very effective in revealing commonalities between darknet websites. Using the similarity detection method, it was found that only 49% of the 258 single-vendor marketplaces were unique, meaning that there were no similar websites. In addition, 20% of all vendor shops are duplicates. 31% of all single-vendor marketplaces can be sorted into seven similarity groups.


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Author Biographies

Fabian Brenner, Fraunhofer SIT, ATHENE, Germany

Fabian Brenner was a former auxiliary scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology. He wrote his master’s thesis in the area of darknet and its marketplaces in the institute’s Panda project in 2020. Fabian studied IT security at the Technical University of Darmstadt and currently works as a penetration tester at a consulting company.

Martin Steinebach, Fraunhofer SIT, ATHENE, Germany

Martin Steinebach is the manager of the Media Security and IT Forensics division at Fraunhofer SIT. From 2003 to 2007 he was the manager of the Media Security in IT division at Fraunhofer IPSI. He studied computer science at the Technical University of Darmstadt and finished his diploma thesis on copyright protection for digital audio in 1999. In 2003 he received his PhD at the Technical University of Darmstadt for this work on digital audio watermarking. In 2016 he became honorary professor at the TU Darmstadt. He gives lectures on Multimedia Security as well as Civil Security. He is Principle Investigator at ATHENE and represents IT Forensics and AI security. Before he was Principle Investigator at CASED with the topics Multimedia Security and IT Forensics. In 2012 his work on robust image hashing for detection of child pornography reached the second rank “Deutscher ITSicherheitspreis”, an award funded by Host Görtz.


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How to Cite

Platzer F, Brenner F, Steinebach M. Similarity Analysis of Single-Vendor Marketplaces in the Tor-Network. JCSANDM [Internet]. 2022 Mar. 22 [cited 2023 Mar. 30];11(02):205–238. Available from: