Dark web scams are usually easy to spot, especially when they come in the form of YouTube video tutorials. For experienced users – or novice users with commonsense – the Rodeo Browser scam is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone.
Basically, novice dark web users that don’t know any better are downloading a malicious app masked as a modified version of Tor Browser thanks to a YouTube tutorial video.
The video claims to provide dark web users with the means of purchasing illegal items from a dark web marketplace called The Rodeo.
After installing Rodeo Browser, nothing can be accessed except the settings drop-down menu that leads to the marketplace. This is due to the browser being coded in .NET.
When a user clicks on the marketplace, they’re led to a fake onion site: th3rod3o3301jtxy.onion.
Discovered by Bleeping Computer’s Lawrence Abrams, The Rodeo’s true objective was discovered – connect to a remote FTP server and recover content to show on the website.
Although Abrams and the rest of Bleeping Computer’s staff couldn’t prove 100% that Rodeo Browser and marketplace was/is a scam, everything about the website screams malicious.
“[The Rodeo Marketplace] does appear that it was built to scam users and to perfectly mimic the classic model of any Dark Web marketplace.
Users need to register, log in, explore the merchandise, view vendor profiles, and place orders. The site says that all orders are encrypted via PGP keys, but we found no evidence of such behavior.
In reality, this supposed Dark Web marketplace appears to con non-technical users into placing orders and paying via Bitcoin for products they’ll never receive.”
The solution is clear: users need to steer clear of Rodeo Browser. The fact that the marketplace is stealing information from other black markets should be warning enough.
With all of the AlphaBay drama going on right now, users are better staying away from black markets in general – even for “harmless” browsing. (Because truthfully, nothing is harmless anymore.)