How to Find Illegal Businesses in Shadows of Doubt

This comprehensive guide provides information on illicit enterprises, including their locations, methods of discovery, access codes, and the range of offerings available within them.


My inspiration for creating this guide stems from my personal struggle to efficiently locate illegal businesses within a city. After extensive experimentation, I have devised a relatively straightforward method to accomplish this task.

If you’re uncertain about the reasons behind seeking out and gaining access to illegal businesses, there are several compelling factors to consider:

  • In certain investigations, key individuals involved may be employed within these establishments. Failing to identify their whereabouts can impede progress in your case.
  • When dealing with murder cases, examining sales records from Weapons Dealers or Blackmarket Traders can serve as a valuable resource for identifying potential suspects, particularly if you possess knowledge of the murder weapon.
  • Certain illicit enterprises can offer valuable items, such as Sync Disks found in Blackmarket Sync Clinics.

With that being said, if you are already familiar with these aspects and desire immediate access to the essential information, the subsequent sections of this guide contain everything you need to know.

The map

When you first load up a new city, your map will look roughly like this:

In this case, I had the sandbox starting apartment option toggled on, so I started inside a building.

After you walk a bit on the streets, it will already look like this:

As you can see, the greyed-out buildings light up very easily. This will also show the icon corresponding to what that building is.

You may have also noticed that some buildings on the map are colored off-white, while others are orange. If you never tried digging deeper into this, that’s okay. Here’s the legend on the top-right of the map.

Basically, this means that entering any buildings that are colored orange on your map will be considered trespassing.

But that doesn’t matter much to us right now. What’s most important is the icons. Every commercial, medical, and government building has an icon. Apartments, power rooms, and other more miscellaneous kinds of buildings don’t have icons (but maybe they will in the future.)

What’s important about this is that when one of the illegal businesses you’re looking for lights up, its icon will also appear, even if you never go there and explicitly discover it’s an illegal business.

Icons for each illegal business

Weapons Dealer:

Blackmarket Trader:

Blackmarket Sync Clinic:

Gambling Den:

Loan Shark:

If you see any of these icons in your map, that is certainly an illegal business.


There are two distinct graffiti symbols that you should be vigilant about. One symbol reveals the secret password for accessing the Weapons Dealer, while the other indicates the password for the Blackmarket Trader. These two illegal establishments are the only ones that necessitate a password for entry. Failure to provide the correct password to an employee upon entering their premises will constitute trespassing. Intruding into these establishments poses a challenge since they operate round-the-clock, ensuring there is always an employee present to witness any attempted break-ins. In case you are unable to locate the passwords, an alternative approach is to forcibly enter by incapacitating the employee, similar to gaining entry to an apartment through physical means.

Weapons Dealer’s Password

Blackmarket Trader’s Password

These graffiti are quite easy to stumble upon, and they repeat several times all over the city. There’s not really any secret to finding them. I recommend you just play the game normally, and photograph or note down the passwords when you inevitably stumble upon one. It’s useful to create a case board just for these, where you can pin their passwords. When you find the businesses and tell the passwords to an employee, they’ll be open to you forever, so you can just discard the passwords after that.

More often than not, these graffiti will be found on grey, brick walls like this:

Pay special attention to them. They can also appear in the basements of buildings, so those are sometimes good places to look.

Remember that these graffiti have nothing to do with the locations of the businesses, or with their quantity.

What, where, and when to search

Illegal businesses can be found on either street level or the basements of buildings, though they are much more plentiful in basements.

If you’re not looking specifically for the Blackmarket Trader or Weapons Dealer, which are open 24/7, make sure the current time of day is somewhere between 17:00 to 19:00 when you start searching. These are the only times of day where the opening hours of every illegal business overlap, and all of them will be open. I detail the exact opening hours of each one in section 4. With the method I explain here, the businesses don’t necessarily need to be open for you to find and confirm them, but it makes the process much faster.

Anyways, here’s what you need to do to find them quickly and easily.

Street level

The easiest illegal businesses to find are on street level, in what I call “back alleys”. They are places like these:

These are the only two floorplans you need to investigate if you’re looking for illegal businesses on street level. They won’t show up anywhere else.

In the game world, they will be small alleys of sorts, with a wooden wall around them:

Before even having to go into these alleys you may be able to check your map to see if there is indeed an illegal business. If you can’t, just go there and try to open it or peek under the door. As soon as you do, the name of the room will update and its icon will appear on your map.

Currently, there’s a trick you can use to find out what a room is without even having to go there. Though unfortunately, it only works on street level. It will probably be patched out one day, but here it is: whenever you plot a route to a location, its name will appear under the arrow that directs you, even if you’ve never been there. With this you can find every illegal business on street level with very little legwork.

If you’re only plotting routes to the back alleys I told you about, the name can be one of three things:

  • “00x [Building Name]” which means it’s an apartment and irrelevant;
  • “Unknown” which means it’s an abandoned, run-down room, and also irrelevant;
  • When you get an illegal business, its name will usually be something suspicious, or something that sounds like an obvious cover-up. Look for keywords like “Ironmonger”, “Cost-effective”, etc. Even disregarding this, if it’s not the other two things, it’s still worth checking out to make sure.

Basement level

Illegal businesses in basements require more effort to find, as they don’t have a specific room shape they spawn in, and the route-plotting trick doesn’t work. On the other hand, they are also much more plentiful, since they can spawn in pretty much any room as opposed to the ones on ground level which need those two specific floorplans. However, there are some things you can do to speed up your search.

First of all, forget about the -2 level basement. You may have already noticed that it is always flooded with sewage, and thus all the rooms have nothing of importance.

Once you get to a basement, pay attention to the flow of people. If you see even a little foot traffic to and fro the basement, there’s a good chance there’s one or more illegal businesses there, since basements have very little foot traffic otherwise. You can follow these people and they’ll lead you straight to what you’re looking for. Even if there isn’t much foot traffic that you can see, there is a quick method to go about searching basements.

First of all, ignore all doors with apartment numbers or signs indicating you can’t enter. With the remaining doors, just try to open them. If you’re doing this at the times I mentioned (17:00 to 19:00), the doors to the illegal businesses will be unlocked, while doors to apartments will be locked.

If you’re not searching at those specific times, do the same thing, but if the door doesn’t open, peek under it. This will update the name that appears when you look at the door as well as show the icon of the room on your map. You’ll be able to confirm that it’s an illegal business without knocking or lockpicking.

Just repeat this process for every door in every basement, and you won’t miss anything.

Here’s a quick video of me finding every illegal business in a medium-sized city to show that the process works.

Details about each business

Blackmarket Trader

Opening hours:
24 hours a day, every day.

Items for sale:

  • Camera
  • Lazarus 5 (8mm pistol)
  • Pistol Silencer
  • Pistol ammunition (8mm)
  • Rifle ammunition
  • Buckshot ammunition
  • Deer slug ammunition
  • Bandage
  • Paradoxol (painkiller)
  • Splint
  • Combat knife
  • Poison
  • Bloodhound tracker

Weapons Dealer

Opening hours:
24 hours a day, every day.

Items for sale:

  • Lazarus 5 (8mm pistol)
  • Silenced Lazarus 5 (8mm pistol)
  • Pistol silencer
  • Pistol ammunition (8mm)
  • Rifle ammunition
  • Buckshot ammunition
  • Deer slug ammunition
  • Lucky 7 [9×32 caliber pistol)
  • Shackley Shotgun (Buckshot or Deer Slug ammo)
  • Hamilton Rifle (.309 high-caliber ammo)
  • Faucon Rifle (.309 high-caliber ammo)
  • Combat Knife
  • Flash Grenade
  • Incapacitator Grenade
  • Ballistic Armour

Blackmarket Sync Clinic

Opening hours:
17:00 to 7:00, every day

Items for sale:

  • #16 Infiltrator Sync disk
  • #17 Interceptor Sync disk
  • #18 Trespasser Sync disk
  • Bandage
  • Paradoxol (painkiller)
  • Splint

To my knowledge, these three Sync disks can’t be acquired legally. They won’t be sold at official Sync clinics, and I’m not sure if they can be found in ordinary people’s apartments. But it seems as though they do appear in the apartments of Black Market Doctors, i.e. people who work at Blackmarket Sync Clinics. So it may be worth it to break into their apartments if you want good sync disks early on.

Important warning:
Currently there is a bug where you’ll find Blackmarket Sync Clinics with no employees even during opening hours. This happens pretty often, I don’t have exact numbers but it feels close to 50/50 to me. I’ve already reported it to the devs, so a fix may come soon but it’s good to be aware of it.

Gambling Den

Opening hours:
17:00 to 7:00, every day

Gambling dens also have payphones, along with a city directory and a corkboard from which you can get jobs and apartment offers, just like any other bar and restaurant.

Loan Shark

Opening hours:
7:00 to 19:00, every day.

If you’ve never been to one, loan sharks offer a loaning service, as the name implies. They’ll give you a down payment of 2000 crows, and you have to pay 250 crows a day, plus an additional 250 crow fee.

Bonus: All passwords

If, for some reason, you’re having a lot of trouble finding the graffiti with the passwords, or if they’re all behind those stupid trash bins, below are all the passwords I’ve found that you can try when accessing an illegal business, as a last resort.

However, be careful when using these, as the person who asks you the password will sometimes say you got it right, when it was actually the wrong password. If that happens and you enter, it’ll be considered trespassing and you’ll probably get in trouble. The opposite can also happen, where you’ll get it right but they’ll say you didn’t.
Before entering, just wait for the dialogue options to appear again. If there’s no longer an option to say a password, then you got the password right and gained access to the business.

A reminder that there’s no guarantee that one of these will work in your case, since there’s no way for me to know how many passwords are missing from this list.

  • Lily
  • Briar
  • Rabbit
  • Hyacinth
  • Punk
  • Flash
  • Rose
  • Buffalo
  • Raven
  • Pineapple
  • Juniper
  • Partridge
  • Porcupine
  • Rosemary
  • Crimson
  • Cobalt
  • Lime
  • Spark
  • Superpower
  • Radioactive
  • Rampage
  • Notorious
  • Power
  • Hardcore
  • Ivy
  • Bumblebee
  • Cobra
  • Lavender
  • Midnight
  • Alpaca
  • Ginger
  • Tawny
  • Crow
  • Sage

If you’ve seen any that aren’t in this list, please let me know in the comments so I can add them.

This guide about Shadows of Doubt was written by haomakk. You can visit the original publication from this link. If you have any concerns about this guide, please don't hesitate to reach us here.

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