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Empire Market, a major darknet marketplace for buying and selling illicit goods, has been offline for over 48 hours

According to several sources, one of the largest darknet markets in the world, Empire Market has been offline for well over 36 hours. The researcher and analyst Dark.fail has been tweeting about the subject, as the market hasn’t been down for this long since 2019.

Empire Market, a major darknet marketplace for buying and selling illicit goods, has been offline for over 48 hours

It seems the popular darknet market (DNM) Empire has been down for well over a day and a half now, and ever since it went offline, DNM patrons have been edgy.

On Sunday, August 23, 2020, the Reddit forum r/darknet, with its 127,000 subscribers, is littered with threads and memes concerning Empire’s downtime. The website darknetstats.com indicates that Empire is “down, not working,” according to the web portal’s Empire stats page.

The ‘Reddit-like’ deep web discussion forum, Dread, is also filled with individuals discussing Empire’s downtime.

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On Twitter, the account @Darkdotfail or Dark.fail has been keeping the public up-to-date with all the Empire action this weekend. Dark.fail noted on Friday that Empire was suffering from a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

A DDoS attack is when the regular traffic is disrupted because a targeted server is overwhelmed by a flood of instigated and artificial traffic. Darknet markets and deep web forums have been attacked quite often in the past with severe DDoS attacks.

“Empire Market remains under a large DDoS attack making it very slow to access,” Dark.fail tweeted on August 21. “Monero functionality appears broken, Bitcoin is functioning according to multiple trusted sources. Always PGP verifies URLs, many phishing links are circulating.”

In the world of darknet, two of the largest today include Russia’s Hydra marketplace and the notorious Empire Market.

A few hours later on Friday, Dark.fail shared an encouraging PGP signed message from the Empire staff members that said:

Discussing the situation further, Dark.fail said that the DNM’s head moderator dubbed “Se7en” recently wrote a scathing critique called “State of the Darkweb.”

The post called out phishers, doxxers, and alleged LE cooperators in the community. The DDoS attack now keeping Empire offline is possibly retaliation for this post.

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Darknet Giant Empire Market Offline for 36 Hours, Blame Cast at Massive DDoS Attack
The website run by @Darkdotfail called dark.fail is dedicated to monitoring various DNM uptimes and downtimes.

Dark.fail also details there is a tool that DNMs have leveraged in 2020 that has allowed them to keep better uptime called the “Endgame DDoS filter.” The analyst said that the Endgame DDoS filter helped most major darknet sites withstand attacks over the past eight months.

Despite the anti-DDoS tool, Empire Market has been down all weekend long, and the blame is mostly focused on a distributed denial-of-service attack.

However, whenever DNMs go offline for a record period, DNM patrons start spreading rumors. At times this type of FUD is circulated by competing DNMs on the deep web.

Dark.fail wrote during the early morning hours on Sunday:

“We are ~36 hours into Empire Market being completely offline. Last year extended periods of downtime were common before the Endgame DDoS filter was released. After months of nearly perfect uptime, this downtime feels more stressful than the frequent Empire downtimes of 2019.”

During the later afternoon on Sunday, Dark.fail shared more screenshots of a PGP signed message from the moderators of Empire.

A member of the Empire staff noted according to the screenshot:

“Beware the many false narratives and FUD circulating. We are here and are hard at work. Doing anything safely takes time.”

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