Various sources state that one of the largest darknet marketplaces in the world, the Empire Market has been offline for over 36 hours (over a day and a half) now. Dark.fail has been continuously updating on this matter on its twitter handle. It had noted on Friday (the 21st of August, 2020) that the Empire Market was suffering from a massive DDoS attack (Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack). This is the first time after 2019 that the darknet giant has been offline for so long.
On the 23rd of August 2020 (Sunday) the ‘darknet’ Reddit forum bearing 127,000 subscribers has been flooded with multiple threads and memes that reflected the downtime of the Empire Market. Other portals have confirmed that the status of the market is “down, not working”. Apart from Reddit, the Dread forum is equally hit by the discussion of individuals on the downtime of the dark web market.
It can be stated that a website is under a massive DDoS attack when the usual traffic is disrupted as the targeted server is overwhelmed by a vast mass of artificial and instigated traffic. Several deep web forums and darknet markets have already experienced DDoS attacks in the past where the severity was unimaginable.
“Empire Market remains under a large DDoS attack making it very slow to access,” Dark.fail tweeted on the 21st of August. “Monero functionality appears broken, Bitcoin is functioning according to multiple trusted sources. Always PGP verify URLs, many phishing links are circulating.”
The darknet market sphere includes two of the largest and most renowned marketplaces, viz., The Empire Market and the Hydra Market (Russian).
Dread’s co-admin Paris believes that Russia’s largest darknet market Hydra uses a custom multi-threaded Tor implementation to stay online despite DDoS attacks. It’s hard to verify this, but their uptime is nearly perfect. pic.twitter.com/06HndD6ytD
— dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 22, 2020
DNMOn Friday, Dark.fail had shared a PGP signed message from the staff members of the Empire Market that seems quite encouraging:
Many want to see us fall, but we are not going anywhere. Long live the Empire.
Further discussion on the situation reveals Dark.fail’s statement that said the darknet market’s chief moderator dubbed as “Se7en” has recently written a devastating critique known as “State of the Darkweb”. The post had called out the doxxers, phishers and the alleged law enforcement cooperators in the community, as Dark.fail notes on its Twitter handle.
“The DDoS attack now keeping Empire offline is possibly retaliation for this post,” the analyst added assessing the situation.
Dark.fail has also detailed on a tool that the darknet markets (DNMs) have leveraged in this year allowing them to keep better uptime known as the Endgame DDoS filter. The analyst website had also mentioned that the Endgame DDoS filter had helped most of the significant darknet websites to resist the attacks over the last eight months. Irrespective of the anti-DDoS tool, the Empire Market has been down throughout the weekend while the massive DDoS attack (distributed denial-of-service attack) has been mainly blamed.
Nevertheless, whenever any dark web market goes offline or hit a downtime for an extended period, the patrons of the DNMs indulge themselves in spreading the rumours. The competing darknet markets circulate this type of FUD on the dark web at times.
“We are ~36 hours into Empire Market being completely offline,” Dark.fail wrote during the early morning hours on Sunday (ET). “Last year extended periods of downtime were common before the Endgame DDoS filter was released. After months of nearly perfect uptime, this downtime feels more stressful than the frequent Empire downtimes of 2019.”
During the later half of Sunday, Dark.fail had shared few more screenshots of a PGP signed message from the Empire Market’s moderators.
“Beware the many false narratives and FUD circulating. We are here and are hard at work. Doing anything safely takes time,” a member of the Empire staff noted according to the screenshot.
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