Empire Market Down for Over 100 Hours Sparkling Fear of Exit Scam or DDoS Attack
Empire market has experienced an outage said to be the longest ever shutdown
since 2019. According to multiple reports, the market has been offline for over 100
hours now, sparkling fear of a possible exit scam just like the Wall Street Market in
2019. A section of the market users also rules out exit scam possibility, linking the
long shut down of its servers to a DDoS attack which is very common in the market.
In fact, others have also hinted that the Empire market administrators have
transferred a huge sum of Bitcoins into a different wallet address in the midst of the
It all started when empire market users encountered unusual difficulties accessing
the site. From the many tweets and posts on Twitter and Dreads, it was obvious that
the initial thought was a possible DDoS attack in which the Endgame DDoS filter
failed to stand. Soon after, an Empire Staff appeared on Dread to post a valid PGP
signed update confirming the speculated DDoS attack. This brought some hope to
users who had money in escrow thinking everything would be sorted out for the site
to run without problems.
It was reported that the Monero functionality of the website was not working properly,
however, the Bitcoin deposit and withdrawal were working perfectly though hard to
access. The mysterious disappearance of the Empire market did not follow the
usual process of most of the websites that pulled exit scams, and so people kept
their hope alive for a while. Most sites disable withdrawal and allow deposit for a
while before pulling an exit scam. This was not the case of the Empire market.
A few days after the initial report, users began reporting on various forums that the
Empire market’s public and private URLs are offline for the first time since the
DDoS attack was reported. An Empire market staff once again posted a valid PGP
signed update on Dread, asking people to ignore the false narratives and FUD circulating.
According to his post, anything being safely done takes time. A lot of references
were made users on the shut down of previous dark web markets as the FBI uses
DDoS attacks to identify and arrest administrators. A typical example is the 2013
Drama of the fall of the old silk road market when it was initially published that the
site was undergoing a DDoS attack but never came back.
Se7en, the head of moderator for Empire market has hit the final nail on the coffin
stating that the empire market will not return. According to him, the administrators
took the website down completely including the mod. panel. He expressed his
disappointment in the way the market exited and even apologized to anyone who
had money in escrow. Se7en shifted the blame on the tor project and DDoS
attackers. The market truly experienced a DDoS attack, however, the market was
being held by multiple DDoS attackers. During the time when they were considering
paying the DDoSer, a new DDoS was launched on the site coming from a different
attacker and capable of taking down 9 Endgame links. This was when the
administrators probably thought of taking down the market. Since the site was taken
down, there has not been any announcement from the FBI or the popping up of prior
notice by the administrators making it reasonable to call it an exit scam.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Intel 471 INC. Mark Arena as reported
, the running of a dark web markets lead the administrators to one of
the two possible outcomes – be arrested by law enforcement or stage an exit scam.
The threat researcher at a cybersecurity company Digital Shadow L.T.D, Kacey
Clark has also said that the dark web markets mostly host vendors who keep a lot of
money on the platform due to their day to day transactions.
Vendors mostly do this on platforms that have operated for long and well
established. In this case, Arena estimates that the administrators went away with a
single-digit million at least. Bloomberg reported that the FBI has declined to
comment on the issue. There is no indication of FBI notice on the site as it happens
with most of the seized platforms. The Empire market is completely offline. Fears
have arisen among the various dark web market users as one more established
black market has joined the list of markets that pulled exit scams. In 2016, the
Evolution market vanished without notice, taking away $12 million in Bitcoin held by
vendors in escrow.
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