Reopened AlphaBay Dark Web Marketplace Questioned by Many, Suspected of Being Run by Law Enforcement
In mid-July 2017, Alphabay, the world's largest dark web marketplace, abruptly shut down, with customers unaware whether the administrator had been seized by law enforcement or had run away. Soon after law enforcement revealed that organized police contingents from different jurisdictions had infiltrated Alphabay, and Thai police arrested Alexandre Cazes, allegedly the administrator of the Alphabay marketplace. now more than four years later, Alphabay has allegedly returned, as the original Alphabay administrator "Desnake" ostensibly "proved control" of the Alphabay administrator's PGP key.
The so-called Alphabay has returned, the new platform has been unstable, and the authenticity of the PGP key that Desnake has been in possession of has been questioned by everyone. Over the past few weeks, dark web marketplace users, researchers and observers have been discussing the return of the so-called Alphabay marketplace, the largest dark web marketplace in 2017, which showed Alphabay with a 96% approval rating before Deepdotweb publications were censored. When the site shut down that summer four years ago, thousands of Alphabay users flocked to dark web marketplaces like Hansa and Dream, but Hansa users had little idea the marketplace was under the control of international law enforcement.
The Dutch police and prosecutor's office seized Hansa in early June of that year and proceeded to continue operating the dark web trading marketplace, and after Alphabay collapsed, users flocked to Hansa. in the course of operating Hansa, law enforcement collected information on many of the vendors and frequenters who used the dark web to trade, and seized thousands of bitcoins.
In August 2021, visitors to the Dread forums noticed the resurfacing of "Desnake", who also proved his identity by using the account's historical PGP key. Desnake also proved his identity by using the account's historical PGP key. A former Alphabay moderator named "disc0" also reportedly vouched for Desnake. darkowl.com researchers published an in-depth investigation related to the alleged return of Desnake and how the user used "hosted services on both Tor and I2P" to promote the newly launched Alphabay dark web trading marketplace.
Darkowl notes that the new Alphabay has been "unstable" since its return, with users experiencing "frequent 503 errors, user registration issues and login timeouts. I2P services tied to the new Alphabay rarely load, and Darkowl claims that the Alphabay user base is much smaller than Desnake boasts.
"As of the time of writing, Desnake claims to have created 15,000 user accounts, registered 450 vendors, and posted more than 400 product listings." Darkowl's report reads.
Darkowl researchers also suspect that the Alphabay service on Tor may be hosted "in conjunction with the Dread service. This is because the newly launched Alphabay has similar DDoS protection and clock verification code services to Dread. tempest" and "wxmaz".
"All moderators spoke very formally in impeccable English and were enthusiastic about the new concept of decentralized marketplaces, the complex trade-offs and advantages of peer-to-peer networks, and the strong desire to build larger communities." Darkowl's report states. The report adds, "Desnake's post was particularly 'lengthy' with a large number of lengthy posts in the About and FAQ sections of Dread and the Dark Web Marketplace."
In addition to Darkowl's report, anonymous journalist and researcher "dark.fail" (@darkdotfail) also tweeted about the alleged return of Alphabay and issued a warning. "Alphabay, the top-ranked dark web marketplace seized by law enforcement four years ago, has recently returned." dark.fail said Thursday, "Desnake proved they control an old PGP key that he claimed to be an original site administrator and many naive people believed it. We'll see how this plays out and [law enforcement] can seize the PGP private key like anything else." The researchers added.
Alphabay's return was announced following the recent White House Market retirement announcement, which emphasized that there would not be another White House Market in the future. Often, malicious entities like to use the name of legendary markets to create fake dark web trading marketplaces to gain more trust from the community. The White House Marketplace is a dark web trading marketplace that only accepts Monroe (XMR), and the new Alphabay accepts Monroe as well.
Furthermore, what if law enforcement officials are using Alphabay's PGP keys to lure unsuspecting victims in a manner similar to the way Hansa was seized? History is replete with examples of law enforcement agencies around the globe going undercover to catch the big fish. In the Hansa case, Dutch law enforcement officials, along with partners from Germany, Lithuania, the United States and Europol, infiltrated Hansa from the inside for more than a month, gathering information on each participant.
"In total, more than 1,000 bitcoins were seized," detailed the Dutch prosecutor's office. "On average, there were 1,000 orders per day, in response to approximately 40,000 advertisements. The marketplace counted 1,765 different sellers. Since taking over the management of Hansa Market, more than 50,000 transactions have been counted, especially for soft and hard drugs."
What is your opinion on the alleged return of Alphabay and the authenticity of the Desnake PGP key?
From：On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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