The AlphaBay darknet market, closed in 2017, is back online

One of the largest darknet markets, AlphaBay, has been active since 2014 and was liquidated by law enforcements in 2017, along with another major marketplace, Hansa Market.

Then the closure of AlphaBay and Hansa Market was the result of a major international operation in which the United States, Canada, Thailand, Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Lithuania, as well as representatives of Europol, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration took part.

According to the FBI, AlphaBay was ten times bigger than the infamous Silk Road. The marketplace was used by 200,000 users and 40,000 sellers. At the same time, AlphaBay had more than 250,000 advertisements for the sale of drugs, more than 100,000 advertisements for the sale of stolen or fake identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other hacking tools and services.

Shortly before the liquidation of AlphaBay in Thailand, 25-year-old Canadian citizen Alexandre Cazes was arrested. He was considered one of the leaders of the resource, known under the nickname Alpha02. Shortly after his arrest, on July 12, 2017, Kaz committed suicide in a Thai prison.

However, another administrator of the resource, who was responsible for security and known under the nickname DeSnake, did not fall into the hands of law enforcement officers, and remained at large for all the past years.

Darknet market AlphaBay

Now Bleeping Computer reports that DeSnake unexpectedly announced on the forum late last week that AlphaBay has reopened and is ready to go. To verify his identity, DeSnake attached the original public PGP key to his message, which he used during the heyday of the marketplace.

Darknet market AlphaBay

Journalists note that one of the forum users has already confirmed the DeSnake key and the fact that he was part of the AlphaBay team. Another user also verified the administrator’s identity by talking to him about “things that only an AlphaBay employee could know.”

In a lengthy statement, DeSnake explains that it would like to set new standards and build a “professionally managed, anonymous, secure marketplace.” He writes that he wants to create an autonomous and anonymous decentralized network of trading platforms, where everyone can open their own marketplace. From the description, it will be like Amazon for the darknet, where sellers and buyers will be able to move from one store to another using the same account and not trusting any of them with their cryptocurrency.

Darknet market AlphaBay

DeSnake assures that the new AlphaBay was developed for the lasting service, it uses secure and proven code, bulletproof servers, and protects against disruptions that can be caused by both equipment failure and police raids.

He also advertises AlphaGuard’s automated system, which “ensures that users / merchants can access funds in their wallet (including escrow) at any time via I2P / Tor,” and an automated dispute resolution system that aims to resolve issues between buyers and sellers without the intervention of moderators.

DeSnake has laid out a concise set of rules for the revamped AlphaBay that should help avoid unnecessary scrutiny from law enforcement:

  • It is forbidden to harm other people (search for hired killers and so on);
  • It is forbidden to discuss weapons (even in self-defense);
  • No erotica/porn in any form (logins for main sites are allowed);
  • No fentanyl or fentanyl-mixed/fentanyl-based substances;
  • No COVID-19 vaccines
  • No doxing and doxing threats;

Any activity related to Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan (people, organizations, governments), as well as data of citizens of these countries is prohibited;

Users are not allowed to sell ransomware, search for access brokers to deploy ransomware, or discuss ransomware.

Reporters note that AlphaBay now only uses the Monero cryptocurrency, and currently there are only two items for sale, and in both cases, they are drugs. Forum statistics show that so far on the updated AlphaBay, there are 19 members who have exchanged 72 messages.

Let me remind you that recently we talked about the fact that One million bank card data published as advertising for the underground marketplace AllWorld Cards.

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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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