Saturday, August 29, 2020

Dark Web's Largest Drug Sales Vendor "Empire Market" falls after suspected "Exit Scam"

Chivis Martinez  Borderland Beat TY Gus  Infosecurity Mag

The world’s most popular dark web’s online drug market vanishes, ‘Empire Market’  sells everything from drugs to stolen cards, counterfeit goods and bulletproof hosting.....

Chivis Note: An exit scam is when the moderators of a darknet marketplace suddenly shut the operation down with no warning, and users and vendor funds are stolen. For instance, at times vendors pay a deposit in order to list wares on specific DNMs and customers also keep funds in the DNMs wallets and in escrow systems during exchanges.

One of the dark web’s largest English language marketplaces has been hit by an exit scam, potentially shattering trust in underground sites like it.

Empire Market, which sells everything from drugs to stolen cards, counterfeit goods and bulletproof hosting, has been offline since last week after initial reports of a major DDoS attack on the site.

DDoS attacks have become an increasingly common way for cyber-criminals to extort money from the site’s administrators, and for law enforcers to disrupt their operations.

A moderator for Empire Market took to the Dread forum in a now-deleted post to explain that a persistent threat actor had overcome its DDoS-mitigation measures, according to Digital Shadows. Another crippling attack from a different actor then finally persuaded the admins to close the site, taking all the funds currently in escrow with them, they added. 


That individual reportedly claimed that the administrators hadn’t planned to exit scam the site, as in premeditated cases they would normally have disabled withdrawals for several weeks while accepting payments in order to maximize their haul.

If the news is correct, the site’s founders will still have left with a sizeable chunk of cash. Empire market had over 55,000 listings and processed around $6.5m each week, according to Digital Shadows.

Following exit scams from the likes of Apollon, Nightmare and BitBazaar over the past year, this latest incident will do much more to harm trust on the dark web, the threat intelligence firm opined.

“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,” it explained.

“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.”

In fact, law enforcement efforts had already done much to erode trust on the dark web, according to a Trend Micro report from June.

Cyber-criminals are responding to the threat with innovations like direct (walletless) buyer-to-vendor payments, multi-signatures on BTC and Monero, encrypted messaging and a ban on JavaScript, it said. Some have apparently even migrated to gaming comms platform Discord and e-commerce platform Shoppy.gg to buy and sell.

Digital Shadows claimed the fall of Empire Market may also drive a surge in popularity for closed forums and private communication channels.

20 comments:

  1. The admins walked off with the super bag...they must have ran off w 100m+ on the vendors. Feds hired the hackers to disrupt, they had no choice but to dip...paying back every single vendor would have resulted in further exposure. It's the risk one takes using this platform as oppose to copping off the corner, a la cop and go...

    The business is bigger than ever under Covid...

    Illuminati

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another conspiracy theorist with absolutely No concrete evidence to confirm the theory. Great thing it got shut down. Hopefully that will discourage such activity.

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    2. I always got every single item I ordered. Such a shame. Thanks for the heads up BB!

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  2. wait until the CIA figures out who the ring leaders are they will be sitting in prison for life like ross ulbricht

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah Ulbricht was caught by such heavy duty analysis and investigation as realizing he registered the site originally in his own NAME! Good job there shrelocks!

      Delete
  3. Why not keep a zero balance on your wallet at all times. Transfer everything right after a trade and only deposit the exact amount when buying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Convenience, simply

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    2. To make it easier for yourself. Someone thats been buying dope off the same site for months or years is going to get comfortable since nothing has gone wrong.

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    3. @11:57 Most people into crime don't understand the concept of 'risk' and/or are stupid and/or lazy.

      Delete
  4. Maybe a scam, a government agency using it as cover, or a private intelligence company hired to shut it down.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ladron que roba ladron 😂

    M”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First thing that came to my mind 😆

      Delete
  6. I wouldn't be surprised if government agents locked up the admins and stole their bitcoins. If the feds used the Operation Marco Polo playbook, then they focused on busting vendors, taking over those vendors accounts, then using those positions to cozy up to the admins/leadership of the marketplace. For a fascinating look into how the Silk Road was taken down (and yes, like the above person commented, the Dread Pirate Roberts was taken down by a few amateur moves he made in the beginning while setting up the Silk Road) and how American law enforcement can be just as corrupt as our neighbors to the South. This is a 3 part series all about the Genesis of Silk Road right on down to the life sentencing. Very interesting 3 part podcast.

    https://casefilepodcast.com/case-76-silk-road-part-1/

    https://casefilepodcast.com/case-76-silk-road-part-2/

    https://casefilepodcast.com/case-76-silk-road-part-3/

    ReplyDelete
  7. The admins were probably Chinese

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  8. And me over here looking for coca

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  9. You would think all these computer nerds wouldve figured out a way around shit like this happening by now

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  10. i had around 500 bitcoins stolen from me from US GOVERNMENT. i tried to get my bitcoins that i had proof that i purchased legit with my bank account. no luck it was a uphill battle that i was no going to win because the site i had btc wallet was taken down by feds for illegal moneylaundering. shit gets me pissed off i could of been like mayweather or canelo riding around in a buggati but instead im like my good friend scotish zeta riding around town in a beat up old FORD BRONCO DEL 85.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damn...that SUCKS. The usa only cares about taking peoples money. Look at some of the "fines" these drug bosses paid- didnt barbie pay like 125 million and still got 40+ years?. What a total joke

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  11. Nice dig...please dont encourage the trolls tho

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  12. Basically saying it's getting harder and harder to trust criminals when you buy and sell drugs and contraband. 🤣

    ReplyDelete

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