The biggest store on the Dark Web has been offline for three days!
The Empire Market is (or was it?) The largest store for the sale of illegal products on the net. By its very nature it has always operated on the Dark Web and avoiding the authorities. But something has had to happen lately, it has not been operational for several days and your clients do not know what could have happened.
The Empire Market became in recent years what its name suggests, an empire for the purchase and sale of products such as drugs, weapons, malware, or forged documents. With the fall of AlphaBay and Hansa in 2017, it had been the quintessential point to carry out illegal transactions on the Dark Web. Now there are chances that Empire Market has also come to an end.
Arrest or scam
As reported in Bloomberg, The Empire market has been down for about three days and without the possibility of accessing and carrying out operations. The Dark Web and the Deep Web in-general, are not stable places for web pages. Due to the construction of the TOR network of distributed pages, it is not always easy to access. To this is added the fact that many times they are persecuted to attack and leave illegal pages inoperative, either by the authorities or by the competition. It is not the first time nor the last that situations like this occur.
Therefore, one of the possibilities that have been raised is that the Empire Market has been dismantled by the police. In this case, the authorities have probably managed to get hold of the servers or directly find the administrators. But of course, when that happens usually a police notice appears indicating that the site has closed, something that does not happen with Empire Market right now.
So what could have happened? A bigger fear for store customers and suppliers: the administrators have run a scam. These types of platforms normally use cryptocurrencies as “safe” for transactions. Providers deposit certain amounts in cryptocurrencies as safe to operate and that customers are not misled. Some have even tried to do an ICO to achieve this. A deposit that over time can be a considerably large sum when pooling that of all the participants of the platform, where the administrators have access to the money.
Security experts, providers, and even moderators of the platform fear that administrators have decided to take all that money in cryptocurrencies and disappear with them. In other words, a full-blown scam. Users indicate that they can no longer access their accounts and there are those who are publicly asking the administrators that at least the money they have stolen goes to some charitable work. Particularities of the Dark Web.
We will probably never know what exactly happened. Perhaps in a few days, the web will work normally again, perhaps the police will release a statement that it has been dismantled or perhaps nothing will ever be heard of those hundreds of thousands of euros/dollars in cryptocurrencies again. A matter of time for a new king to rise on the Dark Web.