RuTor, as its name implies, is a Russian forum on Tor. Its functions, however, are twofold: it serves as both a forum and marketplace, somewhat like The Majestic Garden.
In its forum section, RuTor users can also seek advice regarding darknet security, risk reduction, and other related topics.
It is not intended for non-Russian speakers, although with translation tools (or a Russian-speaking friend), you may be able to get by. The site does have an English version as well, although some parts of the site will not translate to English.
RuTor Registration URL
How to Access RuTor
As with most other darknet markets, RuTor is hosted on the Tor network, meaning that you need a special browser to access it. This browser is the Tor Browser, which you can download at Tor Project: Download Tor. For more in-depth instructions on using the Tor Browser, see our tutorial How To Access .Onion Sites / Tor Sites.
In addition to the Tor Browser, you will also need these things:
- Bitcoin or BitRUBLE
- Bitcoin mixers (tumblers)
Bitcoin or BitRUBLE are the currencies that you will use to purchase items on RuTor. BitRUBLE is a Russian version of bitcoin. PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is an encryption and decryption program, which you should use to encrypt and decrypt messages on the marketplace.
Bitcoin mixers are used to disguise the source and destination of bitcoin transactions. We have reviews of several mixers on our site: Bitcoin Mixers. Some of the more well established ones include Helix, by Grams, and BitBlender.
In addition to the essentials above, some people recommend using a VPN with Tor, or a Linux distribution, particularly if you have an OS that’s vulnerable to malware. However, a VPN can potentially be a negative, if they keep logs of your information; it’s best to research which VPN to use, and make sure that the provider respects your privacy.
RuTor Account Registration
One of the things that may prove confusing when you first encounter RuTor’s landing page is that all you see is a large message in Russian, with a link.
The message reads, “Welcome to the RuTor forum. To go to the site, click HERE.” Click the blue link to enter the site. You will then be taken to a second page that looks like this:
The text reads, “[Are] you [a] bot? No.” Then click the blue link again. This is designed to help prevent DDoS attacks. After that, you will reach a third page with a black background, that says (in Russian) “Welcome to the RuTor Forum. To access, press the link here.”
Finally, after all of that red tape, you will reach the login/registration page. It may appear confusing upon your first visit, as it features a lot of text, and numerous links:
Right above the logo that says “BlackMart,” there should be some Russian text that reads, “Войти или зарегистрироваться,” which translates to “To enter or be registered.” Click this link, and you’ll be taken to a registration page. In fact, if you want to skip the first few pages, just use the registration link listed above.
The registration form looks like this:
Of course, as with the rest of the site, all of the text is in Russian. Here’s an English breakdown of what it’s asking for, in order:
- Password confirmation
- Gender – Male, Female, Not Specified
- Date of Birth
- Verification (a CAPTCHA, basically)
Below that is some small text with a checkbox, which reads: “I agree with the conditions and rules of [the] forum.” Check the box, and hit the button below it. You have then completed your registration; however, your registration still has to be approved by an administrator even after completing the form if you wish to post on the forum.
On the following screen, you should see a message that reads: “Спасибо за регистрацию. Ваша учётная запись должна быть утверждена администратором. Когда это произойдёт, Вы получите письмо по электронной почте.” This (roughly) translates to: “Thanks for registration. Your account has to be approved by the administrator. When it occurs, you [will] receive the letter by e-mail.”
We, too, initially had to wait to receive this confirmation email before being able to post on the site. Nonetheless, you can explore RuTor without actually posting on it, until your registration is approved. This was one downside to the site we experienced; it took a very long time to actually receive a confirmation email.
After you complete your registration, simply go to the login page and type in your username and password:
Note: if you want to become a vendor on RuTor, you will need to pay a $100 fee (or its BTC equivalent) in order to be authenticated. Once you spend the fee and are verified as a vendor, you have the privilege of getting “Seller” status on your profile, as well as a custom color for your username. That may not sound like a big deal, but the color can make your vendor name stand out among others.
RuTor Interface and Functions
RuTor’s interface differs from most markets, in that it uses a forum style. Nonetheless, it is comparable to other darknet forums, such as The Majestic Garden.
Like the now-defunct RAMP, RuTor has a gallery of ads for vendor shops and forums plastered across its front page. While it isn’t the most attractive interface, we understand that the ads help fund their business.
The site’s format has changed since some other recent reviews. In the past, there was a menu on the left sidebar to help navigate the site, which is now gone. In the upper right-hand corner, you should see the names of two of the site’s moderators, plus a list of names of who’s currently online. Below that, you will see a feed of the most recent forum posts.
Underneath that are some charts showing the prices of both bitcoin and bitRUBLE over the last 24 hours.
To access your profile page, merely click on your account name, which is located in the upper right hand corner of the page. Next to this are buttons for your messages inbox, and notifications.
On the Profile page, you can add personal information, contact details, alert settings, and other options. For example, you have the option to change your time zone, what language the site uses (English or Russian), and other settings. You can also designate which threads to follow.
In addition, you have the option to list your contact details on Skype, ICQ, and Jabber. Be that as it may, if you choose to do this, we recommend using different accounts than the ones you normally might use on the clearnet, to avoid associating the two. It would be pointless to use a darknet forum (centered around anonymity), only to share your personal information on it.
Even if you choose to use the English version of the site, some text may not translate accurately, but it should be correct enough that you can understand.
One way in which RuTor differs slightly from some other darknet forums is that on each thread, there is a small box to the right of its name that shows the latest post, as well as the username that posted it. Keep this in mind before you post something, as it will be visible to everyone on the site:
RuTor Categories and Listings
Regardless of the fact that RuTor uses a forum style, it still makes browsing through the site simple, because the posts are grouped into different categories. While these categories may not cover every subject, it does make the site easier to navigate.
Anyhow, the following are the main categories of items that you’ll find for sale on RuTor:
- Currency Exchange, Financial Services
- Flea Market, Sale for All
Beyond these basic categories, the forum also has sections for catching swindlers, and users or vendors with whom transactions are forbidden (a thread called “Quarantine”). There’s also a section entitled “Arbitration,” in which disputes can be settled.
Other Forum Sections and Threads
Since RuTor is a forum, it includes other threads besides the categories listed above. For example, one thread is entitled “Финансы. BitCoin,” or “Finance. BitCoin.” Another is entitled “Обсуждение I2P,” or “Discussion of I2P,” which is another anonymity network besides Tor. There are also threads about legal issues and healthcare.
Forum and Market Prohibitions
Like most other darknet markets, RuTor has rules against certain items being sold, or certain activities being done on the site. For instance, it is forbidden to sell, advertise, or even promote synthetic drugs (like JWH-018). The rules also prohibit child pornography, as well as posts related to suicide, racism, xenophobia, revolutions (i.e. uprisings), sale forecasts, and sports gambling.
Furthermore, users are banned from posting links to the clearnet (non-onion links) without permission from the site’s admins. Users are also not allowed to ask for samples, unless a vendor specifically advertises that she is offering samples. Correspondingly, it is against the rules to disclose delivery addresses or other personal information with regard to the goods being sold on the marketplace.
Search and Listing Filters
Similar to other darknet forums, RuTor has a search function to track down specific subjects that you may be looking for. Unlike some of the more sizable markets, its search tools are rather simple, but they do get the job done.
To translate some of that, the search filter gives you the following options: “Search Everything,” “Search Threads and Posts,” “Search Profile Posts,” and “Search Tags.” You can also narrow down your search by looking for title only, who made the post, by specific threads, or by posts that fit within a certain time frame, or that have a certain number of replies. Beyond this, you can sort results by date (most recent first), or the number of replies that a post has (largest amount first).
How to Choose a Vendor on RuTor
There is a specific section on RuTor for vendors, where you can speak to them directly. In order to sort through all of the different vendors, you’ll have to visit the threads dedicated to each one. If your intention is to buy items, take the time to post questions on these threads to find out more information. In addition, make sure you have a look at the scammers listed under the Grifters thread, as well as the vendors that are tagged as suspicious under the Quarantine thread. This way, you can verify that the vendor you have in mind is not going to scam you.
How to Order
As with other P2P markets, if you want to order items on RuTor, you’ll have to speak to a vendor directly. This means that it’s imperative that you use encryption when sending messages back and forth with them.
RuTor personally suggests using the program gpg4usb for this purpose, and has a detailed guide on their site as to how to use it.
If you wish to contact a vendor, go to one of their posts and click on the link that says “Start a Conversation” in order to message them. Alternatively, you can use a messenger like Jabber to speak, if the vendor is open to this.
Keep in mind: when you’re messaging a vendor, you’ll be discussing the terms of a transaction openly, so be aware of the potential consequences.
How to Pay for Orders
Like most of the other darknet markets, bitcoin is the preferred currency on RuTor. The site’s FAQ section goes into more detail about the various options that are available, such as Qiwi LocalBitcoins, Purse Multibit, and Electrum Wallet.
RuTor has a built-in system for accepting bitcoin deposits in order to make purchases. Contrary to how it might appear, however, it is not an escrow system. In other words, RuTor will not hold onto your payments when you make them. Rather, this system is designed to help legitimate vendors build a reputation; if a vendor scams you, then you have the option to complain, and may get compensated for your lost funds.
In order to make a deposit, you must contact a RuTor administrator, who will give you a bitcoin wallet address; you will send your deposits here. This is not unlike the systems used on other markets, except that in this case, you must contact an admin directly, as opposed to using an automated system (which may take a little longer).
The minimum required deposit amount is 0.3 BTC, but there is no maximum limit.
Pros and Cons
- Strong security measures, like account verification
- Two-factor authentication
- Verification system for vendors to prevent scams
- Has an English version
- Account verification can take a very long time
- Lacks a specific section for non-Russian speakers
- No escrow or multisig systems
- Deposit system may prove difficult for newcomers
Because it is a forum and P2P market, RuTor may seem uncomfortable at first to new users. However, after some time and experience, it can prove to be a more helpful and personable market than ones that are all automated. It may also seem confusing to non-Russian speakers, but it does have an English version, at the very least - so give it a try.