The deep web is now in war. Constant DDoS attacks are already overwhelming the 9 remaining darknet marketplace platforms. And, the most absurd thing is that even the analysts and users don’t understand what is happening. It is possible to buy anything on the darknet, including and not limited to guns, drugs, and even counterfeit passports selling cheaper than on the street. The latest analysis shows that the war is carried out by drug cartels who are looking to mark their spheres of influence.
Darknetmarkets.co ran a profile story on Terbium Labs IT analyst Emily Wilson. She has observed these unfolding attacks in multiple ways for over a month now from her Baltimore office. The anonymous network has users who leak sensitive data about businesses and do other illegal activities. For now, it is evident that someone is out to disrupt the sale of drugs, weapons, prostitution and sensitive data. But who is this?
“Unseen attackers overwhelmed the nine largest remaining markets with DDoS attacks,” Wilson stated.
The situation is almost getting out of hand, and the majority of operators on these platforms are already trying to mend the bridges with their clients. The leading sites are reaching out to their users and explaining they are doing all they can to subvert the matter.
But the attacks are coordinated, consistently on all sites. One merely needs to observe from the trends on Tor onion sites, that DDoS attacks have been on the rise. The only problem is that some of those who access the deep web include hackers, traders, cyber terrorists, security firms, secret organizations, prosecutors, and in the far East Muslim clerics who seek out recruits for ISIS. This makes it hard to predict who exactly could be the first to launch an attack as all parties seem interested.
On July 4th, Alphabay was temporarily shut down after being attacked. Alphabay marketplace was popular for drug trafficking. In the process, millions of dollars in cryptocurrency were frozen. Several bitcoin wallets addresses were exposed. Since then, the majority of the remaining markets have been hit hard overloads.
The darknet market is an illegal internet platform that houses websites that can only work on I2P and Tor. The darknet allows anonymity within browsing and security for any transaction. This allows the platform to be ideal for trading narcotics, weapons, stolen data, counterfeit documents, contrabands as well as illegal and malicious software.
These current markets have anonymous access and bitcoin debit cards and other crypto payment methods. Some players even involve back-to-back sellers such as eBay.
Europol chief executive Rob Wainwright said that the closure of Alphabay overpowered the Hansa marketplace. Alphabay and Hansa were closed through the joint Bayonet operation in which Europol teamed up with Canada and the US. More than 350,000 active orders were subverted in the process, and 40,000 user accounts revealed.
Then, the Dutch Police department, who were key participants of the Bayonet operation published usernames of traders and active buyers to dissuade them from taking part in the stores. The warning read: We are watching people who are actively involved in darknet markets and offering illegal goods and services. Are you one of them? Then you have our attention.
In general, this new wave of DDoS attacks is not coming from government agencies or police departments. Interestingly, the attacks have nothing to do with the police. German policeman Peter Vahrenhorst from the Dusseldorf Crime Center says that he and his team have nothing to do with the site but instead, use it to arrest the guilty. According to the officer, the platforms serve as the only place where law enforcement agents can meet the guilty people. He thus dismisses any claim that the police would want to blow up the only chance they have to arrest criminals.
Martin Dittus of the Oxford Internet Institute thinks that there is “a [new and] dominant force on the dark web not seen before [looking to start a monopoly].” Dittus attributes the DDoS attacks to wars between drug dynasties.