It seems that the darknet market Empire went under, and more rumors are suggesting that we’re looking at another massive exit scam.
If this turns out to be the truth, that the whole move could shatter the trust in underground similar websites.
Empire Market is down – moderator addresses the issue
You’re probably aware of the fact that the Empire Market sells everything from stolen cards to drugs and counterfeit goods, among others. It’s been offline since the past week, and this came right after some initial reports talking about a massive DDos attack on the website.
Such attacks have been increasing lately, and they are slowly, but surely becoming a common way for cyber criminals to extort cash from the site’s admins and for law enforcers to disrupt their operations, according to the latest reports coming from Info Security Magazine.
The online publication mentioned above notes that a moderator for Empire Market took to the Dread forum where he addressed the fact that a persistent bad actor “had overcome its DDoS-mitigation measures, according to Digital Shadows.”
Also, it seems that there was another crippling attack from someone else who persuaded the admins to close the site. More than that, they took all the funds currently in escrow with them, according to the reports. The tweet of the moderator is no longer up.
Harming the trust in the dark web
This new exit scam comes after similar moves involving Appolon, Nightmare, and BitBazaar which took place over the past year. It’s been also revealed that this incident will harm the trust in the dark web harder than ever before.
Digital Shadows notes that “In this tumultuous environment, with English-language marketplaces disappearing left, right and center, Empire had become a bastion of steadfastness — a beacon of credibility to which all other dark web marketplaces were compared.”
The threat intelligence firm continued and explained that “A proven exit scam would shatter the fragile trust that the cyber-criminal community had learned to place in this platform. We will probably return to levels of fear, uncertainty, and doubt not seen since the wake of the Hansa and AlphaBay disruption.”
So far, law enforcement efforts have hit the trust in the dark web severely, says a Trend Micro report released back in June.
Digital Shadows also suggests that the great fall of the Empire Market could drive a surge in popularity for closed forums and private communication channels.