According to a number of sources, one of the largest darknet markets in the world, Empire Market has been offline for well over 36 hours. The researcher and analyst Dark.fail has been tweeting about the subject, as the market hasn’t been down for this long since 2019.
It seems the popular darknet market (DNM) Empire has been down for well over a day and a half now, and ever since it went offline DNM patrons have been edgy.
On Sunday, August 23, 2020, the Reddit forum r/darknet with its 127,000 subscribers is littered with threads and memes concerning Empire’s downtime. The website darknetstats.com indicates that Empire is “down, not working,” according to the web portal’s Empire stats page.
The ‘Reddit-like’ deep web discussion forum, Dread is also filled with individuals discussing Empire’s downtime.
On Twitter, the account @Darkdotfail or Dark.fail has been keeping the public up-to-date with all the Empire action this weekend. Dark.fail noted on Friday that Empire was suffering from a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
Basically, a DDoS attack is when the normal traffic is disrupted because a targeted server is overwhelmed by a flood of instigated and artificial traffic. Darknet markets and deep web forums have been attacked quite often in the past with severe DDoS attacks.
“Empire Market remains under a large DDoS attack making it very slow to access,” Dark.fail tweeted on August 21. “Monero functionality appears broken, Bitcoin is functioning according to multiple trusted sources. Always PGP verify URLs, many phishing links are circulating.”
In the world of darknets, two of the largest today include Russia’s Hydra marketplace and the notorious Empire Market.
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
A few hours later on Friday, Dark.fail shared an encouraging PGP signed message from the Empire staff members that said:
Many want to see us fall but we are not going anywhere. Long live the Empire.
Discussing the situation further, Dark.fail said that the DNM’s head moderator dubbed “Se7en” recently wrote a scathing critique called “State of the Darkweb.”
The post called out “phishers, doxxers, and alleged LE cooperators in the community,” Dark.fail noted on Twitter. “The DDoS attack now keeping Empire offline is possibly retaliation for this post,” the analyst added assessing the situation.
The website run by @Darkdotfail called dark.fail is dedicated to monitoring various DNM uptimes and downtimes.
Dark.fail also details there is a tool that DNMs have leveraged in 2020 that has allowed them to keep better uptime called the “Endgame DDoS filter.” The analyst said that the Endgame DDoS filter “helped most major darknet sites withstand attacks over the past eight months.”
Despite the anti-DDoS tool, Empire Market has been down all weekend long and the blame is mostly focused on a distributed denial-of-service attack.
However, whenever DNMs go offline for a record period of time, DNM patrons start spreading rumors. At times this type of FUD is circulated by competing DNMs on the deep web.
“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 course of the later afternoon on Sunday, Dark.fail shared more screenshots of a PGP signed message from the moderators of Empire.
“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.
What do you think about the DNM Empire Market being DDoS attacked? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.
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