Empire Market, a major darknet marketplace for buying and selling illegal goods, has been offline for days, as customers have begun to raise concerns about whether a DDoS attack is causing the site to stay offline, or if something bigger is coming on their way.
It has been reported by Twitter user dark.fail, an anonymous journalist specializing in the Tor Project, suggested that the blackout “feels more stressful than [Empire market’s] frequent” downtime in 2019 when DDoS attacks kept the site offline for extended periods of time.
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. — dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 23, 2020
However, someone claimed to be one of Empire’s head moderators, named “Se7en”, issued an ambiguous statement after the attack:
“If the market is still down in a couple of days, I’ll make a post about the whole situation, then it’s early days and maybe the admins will bring it back.”
Se7en, Empire's head moderator, has posted their first statement since the downtime began: "If the market is still down in a couple of days I'll make a post about the whole situation then, it's early days and maybe the admins will bring it back." Wait… "maybe"!? pic.twitter.com/XYe19tdpCs — dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 24, 2020
Likewise, dark.fail shared another update, allegedly from Empire Market’s staff by stating that people should be aware of the “many false narratives” which are supposedly circulating. They also suggested that “doing anything safely takes time.”
"Beware the many false narratives and FUD circulating. We are here and are hard at work. Doing anything safely takes time." – PGP verified update from Empire Market staff on Dread pic.twitter.com/lfX3MhZsoi — dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 23, 2020
Thus, rumors continue to circulate on Reddit with some users suggesting that Empire Market could be preparing for an “exit scam,” a scenario in which a company disappears with customers’ funds with little to no warning.