Posted on August 24, 2020 at 6:31 PM
Recent reports from several sources revealed that Empire Market, one of the biggest darknet markets in the world, has been offline for more than 36 hours. Dark.fail analyst and researcher recently tweeted about the situation. Reports pointed out that the darknet market has not stayed offline for this long, not since last year.
DNM patrons are uptight
Ever since the popular darknet market went offline, the DNM community has been tense. Yesterday, there were series of memes and threads discussing Empire’s downtime on the Reddit forum r/darknet. The information available on the darknetstats.com shows that the Empire is down and not working, based on the stats page of the Empire.
Another web discussion forum like Reddit, known as Dread, was also filled with threads discussing the problem.
A twitter account @Darkdotfail is supplying up-to-date information about Empire’s downtime. The page discusses issues about the downtime and all the actions the Empire is taking to resolve the issue.
A DDoS attack on Empire marketplace
On Friday, Dark.fall revealed that Empire was hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
Generally, a DDoS attack usually overwhelms the targeted server with a flood of artificial and instigated traffic. This usually results in an overloaded network, which can lead to the shutdown of service. Deep web forums and darknet markets have been attacked in the past with severe DDoS attacks. Yesterday afternoon, Dak.fail released more screenshots of the signed message from the empire moderators.
“Empire Market remains under a large DDoS attack making it very slow to access,” Dark.fail tweeted on Friday.
When it comes to darknets, the notorious Empire Market and Russia’s Hydra marketplace are two of the largest markets.
Hydra’s uptime is nearly perfect
Dread’s co-admin Paris feels that Hydra, which is the largest darknet marketplace in Russia, makes use of a multi-threaded Tor implementation to remain online despite the DDoS attacks. Although this is not verified, the marketplace’s uptime is close to perfect.
Later the same Friday, one of the Empire Staff members wrote a tweeter message shared by Dark.fail, which reads, “Many want to see us fall but we are not going anywhere. Long live the Empire.”
While talking about the situation further, Dark.fail revealed that the head moderator of the DNM, nicknamed “Sen7en”, wrote a contemptuous critique called “State of the Darkweb”.
The post also called out “doxxers, phishers, and alleged LE cooperators in the community. Dark.fail said the DDoS attack that has kept Empire offline could be a retaliation to the post.
Dark.fail also noted that DNMs have leveraged a tool this year which has enabled them maintained better uptime. The tool is known as the “Endgame DDoS filter.”
The analyst noted that the Endgame DDoS filter has been the main tool that has helped many darknet sites prevent DDoS attacks for the past eight months.
Even with the anti-DDoS tool, the downtime suffered by the Empire throughout the weekend has been due to the activities of actors who used DDoS attacks on the Empire’s server.
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.
Nonetheless, DNM patrons usually start spreading rumors anytime DNMs go offline for a record time. Sometimes, the rumor is carried by competing DNMs on the deep web.
The current attack is more stressful than previous attacks
Earlier yesterday, Dark.fail informed that Empire marketing has been under attack for 36 hours. It further stated that the Endgame DDoS filter was released shortly after the extended periods of downtimes last year. Empire has since then experienced nearly perfect uptime until a few days ago. Based on the report on the situation, the present attack looks more stressful than last year’s consistent Empire downtimes.
The Empire moderators said the public should be wary on FUD and false narratives circulating about the incidence. An empire staff noted that the Empire team is doing everything possible to fix the downtime and return to normal service on time.