Two AlphaBay Vendors Accused of Drug-Related Charges

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Two Brooklyn men have been indicted for selling cocaine and heroin on the dark web.

This follows a string of arrests of dark web vendors in recent times.

On August 2, 2016, law enforcement officers arrested Abudullah Almashwali and Chaudhry Ahmad Farooq.

And on August 11, 2016, Thursday, they were indicted on charges of distributing heroin and cocaine, and federal conspiracy, according to an announcement by Phillip A. Talbert, Acting US Attorney, on the website of the Department of Justice.

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darkapollo
Two AlphaBay accounts had been widely speculated to be run by the same person based on the nature of the product sold and quality.

According to the documents filed in the court, 31-year-old Alrmashwali, a Yemeni national, and 24-year-old Farooq, a Pakistani national, are large-scale vendors of heroin and cocaine and they primarily operated on the darknet market for illicit goods, the Alpha Bay.

They both reside in Brooklyn, New York and operated under pseudonyms “Area5” and “DarkApollo.”

Besides Alpha Bay, they also sold drugs on other darknet markets such as Dream Market and Oasis, and also on Agora and Nucleus when the sites were still operational.

It was widely speculated that the two Alpha Bay accounts were operated by one person as the nature and quality of the products sold by them were the same.

In fact, DarkApollo had even suggested users to check out the products offered by Area51.

At one point in time, even their accounts looked similar.

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DarkApollo’s and Area51’s at one point, their accounts were mirror images of each other.

Further, Area51 informed through a Reddit post that he had set up a darknet market of his own.

Though they have turned out to be different vendors, the federal conspiracy charge was slapped on them as it was evident that they were working together.

Both Alpha Bay vendors shipped drugs throughout the US for the orders they accepted on Alpha Bay.

The law enforcement officials made two controlled heroin purchases from Area51 in May 2016.

Law enforcement officials tracked the packages shipped from post offices in New York to a post office box in California’s Eastern District.

They also identified Farooq’s involvement in other mailings.

During their investigation, law enforcement officers found out that the encrypted email address used by “Area51” and “DarkApollo” was linked to social network accounts (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) used by Farooq.

According to Reddit users who have bought drugs from both vendors, they use a similar return address.

The Central California Darknet Strike Force is responsible for the investigation of this case, which is constituted of officials from multiple agencies such as the DEA, Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs, Postal Inspection Service, and IRS. DEA was the lead agency on the case.

The prosecutors for this case are Assistant Attorneys Jeffrey Spivak and Grant B. Rabenn.

If convicted, Almashwali and Farooq would have to pay a fine of $1 million and spend 20 years in prison.

They will be transferred to the Eastern District of California and be held there until their sentencing.

Competition Among Darknet Markets Are Growing

Competition for new customers has reached an all-time high on the dark web, with each darknet market offering fresh incentives meant to attract more clients to their platform. An AlphaBay vendor is now offering 10% off on the first item bought by those who’ve just signed up, some dealers also claim that AlphaBay is better than others since transactions are more secure and anonymous. Customers are guaranteed exclusive access to the biggest selection of best drugs they can possibly get, be it weed, LSD, cocaine, MDMA or any other narcotic.

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Additionally, there are quick and easy signup links on Reddit for those interested in joining AlphaBay for the first time. People promoting their invite-links also claim they are legit so as to gain more trust from AlphaBay customers, further encouraging them to check through DNstats.net for confirmation on this matter.

Beware of dodgy links that lead to fake copies of AlphaBay (phishing sites) where they steal your bitcoin. Make sure to use the correct and safe link found on this site in the guide page or the AlphaBay URL page.

Sign up is absolutely free and subscribers also have access to a wide variety of products and services, AlphaBay currently boasts the largest marketplace inventory on darkweb making it a favorite amongst many users. It further allows traders to tumble their coins so as to reduce the chances of being detected. AlphaBay also recently released a new multi-signature tutorial for its users, aimed at preventing market scams and driving out traditional escrow systems which are not very efficient.

Despite the competition between different darknet markets, individual traders are also contesting amongst themselves by supplying referrals links which they hope users would click on and buy their products. The Nucleus Market subreddit forum is filled with these onion referral links, most of which are from AlphaBay sellers looking for Nucleus refugees.

Those promoting AlphaBay say that it’s too good to be true and people who haven’t signed up yet are really missing out on something special. They say AlphaBay is today what the Silk Road marketplace was in its heydays some years back, buyers are assured of hot deals on narcotics, credit cards and guns amongst other items. They are mostly saying these things because they make money for each customer they refer.

alphabayMoreover, some vendors are advertising their wares with free “sample give away” to attract even more people. A new dealer looking to build his reputation is offering 30mg. of adderalls sourced from d-amphetamines free of charge. Likewise, there are vendors currently promising next-day door delivery for any product bought from them.

AlphaBay is free to sign up and all you need is a referral link from someone who already has an account with them. Those who were previously trading on Nucleus say it would have been better if they discovered AlphaBay much earlier, before Nucleus pulled an exit scam on them. People are registering in numbers together with their friends, and most agree that AlphaBay is currently the best darknet market, owing to its high levels of security and anonymity. Additionally, some vendors are openly listing their prices on Reddit with one selling 7 grams of Purple Hush at 0.1564 BTC, and another 1gm. Premium MDMA at 0.0405 BTC with a limited time offer.

AlphaBay Has Updated Its Privacy Policy

Alpha Bay ranks to be the most established and biggest darknet market operating on the Tor network today. While other darknet market admins were wreaking an exit scam, the booming dark web marketplace has exhibited a steady growth since late 2014. Since its launch, the Alpha Bay dark web marketplace has been one of the most reputable and well-maintained markets around, and doesn’t fall short either when it comes to updating its privacy policy.

==> Click here for the AlphaBay Guide and AlphaBay URL <==

Alpha Bay is the first market to ever publish one, which clarifies its policies on data retention to all users- sellers or buyers, for added security in safely accessing and purchasing goods and services offer on the site.

Updated Alpha Bay Privacy Policy

The darknet market puts a strong emphasis on users’ security and implements the best possible measures to effectively mitigate risks linked to data leaks, server seizures, and infiltration of account.

Various sections have been detailed on Alpha Bay’s privacy Policy page as to how user’s information is kept, only to be eventually hard deleted and unrecoverable.

Note that Alpha Bay does not keep any trace of information that’s been deleted; neither do they keep records of user movement whereby all access logs show IP 127.0.0.1.

User Accounts

User accounts are kept indefinitely and can’t be deleted. While deleting an account is not an option, it’s possible to edit your profile, including your password, and contact information. This would render previous versions unrecoverable since it would be overwritten in the Alpha Bay database, which holds no records of any profile or PIN edits.

Private Messages

Users’private messages sent by are kept indefinitely by default, but if both users leave their conversation or delete their copy, then the entire conversation will be hard deleted and impossible to recover, without any trace left and no analysis whatsoever that can prove it even existed.

API

Alpha Bay does not keep track of API calls, nor records or deleted keys, so there’s no way to find out if such request was made through the site or through API.

Notifications

Whether they are read or not, notifications are set to be deleted after 14 days, while those sent over Jabber are kept only for 3 days.

Support Tickets

Message content are kept for 15 days, though the support ticket title, username and date are permanently retained.

Staff protection

Security concept: Closed Padlock on computer keyboard background

To access order notes or take charge over a dispute, staff members must have the approval of administration. This keeps a rogue staff member fromscrapingsale data and use it for malicious purposes.A staff member can read the order notes or take over a dispute after an administrator allows access to a staff member to a particular sale number.

Updates were also published for the, Autoshop Data, Sale & Order Data, Deposit and Withdrawal Information, Favorites/Blacklists, Feedback, Listings, and OTPs. The enhanced privacy and increased security levels and admin’s constant updates makes Alpha Bay distinctive among its competitors.

Unencrypted Messages on AlphaBay Exposed

Recently, AlphaBay launched a new API feature allowing subscribers to retrieve certain information from their accounts without having to login. However, a bug was also released at about the same time giving random users the ability to obtain other people’s private messages. Some containing sensitive details like shipping address, and even internal communications between AlphaBay staff.

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reddit_log-100011890-large (1)A Reddit user, aboutthednm, first raised the issue on Wednesday 27th Aprilafter he noticed peculiar happenings on his AlphaBay account. After activating the API program, he queried his own messages only to get texts from someone else instead. He then published several alleged screenshots of the private chats, some involving conversations between dealers and buyers. Aboutthednm also said he saw physical addresses in a few of the communications, since users hadn’t properly encrypted their online messages, as is highly advisable when ordering items on darkweb sites like AlphaBay. He also accessed confidential details of Netflix, PayPal and adult site accounts, which are usually sold on dark web sites and then delivered via private messages.

Another Reddit user by the name of dnmThief also claimed he had actively exploited the bug, he wrote that it’s easy to view messages of unsuspecting AlphaBay users by simply changing their message id. dnmThief claimed to have obtained personal details belonging to more than 15 different users.

encryption-on-paper-with-keyNevertheless, it’s still possible to safeguard your AlphaBay account by installing PGP encryption system. It makes use of special keys to lock and encode data so that only the owner has authorization. These codes are unique and it allows owners to operate only specific locks.

The PGP system is based on a public-key cryptography sequence where each AlphaBay account holder has a private key. Specific key names indicate their main purpose. While public keys can easily be shared with others, private ones must be kept secret for confidentiality purposes. In terms of functionality, a public key is designed to encrypt data (locking) while private keys decrypt them (unlocking).

AB’s new API function allows people to perform various tasks such as reading messages, sending new ones, withdrawal of funds, checking balance as well as status of their orders/sales. While the bug can be used to steal chat information, it still doesn’t allow for direct theft of bitcoins since withdrawals require a 6-digit PIN password. Currently, AlphaBay has more than 91,000 drug listings and 18,000 others for fraud related products.

The marketplace’s affiliated Reddit account, alphabaysupport, confirmed this malware’s existence in a post,but also said that they were willing to pay user “aboutthednm” a bounty for discovering the phishing bug. AlphaBay apologized for the security breach and reminded users that only 1.5% of the total messages had been affected, which translates to about 13,500. However, message screenshots sent by aboutthednm show that the number is much higher at 77,232.

AlphaBay server logs indicate that just a single API key was employed to steal the data; also, only 1or 2 people had direct access to the information. This bug was online for approximately 6hrs. but got fixed instantly upon its unmasking. Management confirmed that aboutthednm was awarded a 5-figure sum for discovering the malware; they also promised AlphaBay users such a thing will never happen again in the future as they have now tightened their security. Furthermore, admin said it was only old messages which had been affected and people need not to panic. Sale and item order details still remained private as far as they are concerned. Despite these explanations, some AlphaBay users are still skeptical, raising concerns that law enforcement agencies might have exploited this vulnerability to access several messages.

AlphaBay Market Downtime For Temporary Upgrade

alpha-bay-market (2)AlphaBay Market recently experienced a temporary downtime after admin announced that they were doing upgrades. Following this announcement, some people were quick to applaud the site for their good communication but others were not happy.

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They complained that AlphaBay Market was still reading “Temporary Upgrade. Expected Downtime 30 Minutes,” well over 1hr. after the expected period had elapsed. Moreover, from emerging online trends it seemed like the site was experiencing difficulties even 24hrs. before the statement was made. While such comments usually come out as anything considering the number of sites that have already gone down.

Some users were more understanding, saying that even though they could not access their orders when AlphaBay Market went down,there was still hope that things were okay and AlphaBay Market was only doing a routine maintenance with the site expected to be back in just a short while. Apparently, the darknet site had embarked on upgrading their system so as to handle the high influx of customers coming from Nucleus after the latter went offline in a suspected exit scam.

Much earlier, a similar downtime had affected Agora, Black Bank and Abraxas which were shut down indefinitely following periods of absence. While it’s true that darkweb has a few unscrupulous players, it’s also unlikely that AlphaBay Market would visibly place a maintenance screen on their site when they don’t mean their words. If they wanted to quit business they would just switch off their server without giving any prior warnings.

While some people said that they lost certain amounts of bitcoins from previous phishing attempts, it later emerged they weren’t being honest since their accounts were not even 2FA enabled. Others tried depositing BTC to online accounts older than 7 days which is not advisable. There are those who also didn’t bookmark or save the actual links. During this time, keen users could make their withdrawals uninterruptedly and would generate a lot more bitcoins daily than those investing $100 or more. Hence, there was no need to think that this site was planning a phishing scam on users during the downtime; sometimes people only raise false alarms with no basis at all.

AlphaBay Market did the upgrades to help the site run smoother, and also keep account holders safe from hackers who are always trying to infiltrate people’s accounts. Nevertheless, some individuals were not happy with these developments, saying that they deposited BTC before maintenance was announced and it was still not showing in their accounts. Others put in colossal sums worth over $1000 only for this to happen, it occurred before they could even check if the amount had been debited. It was bad timing but the users were still hoping for the best.

Things got even bleaker for Nucleus refugees who were looking to start afresh at AlphaBay Market, nucleus has been out for close to 2 weeks and vendors still don’t know what the future holds for them. Though it seems less likely to come back with each passing day since there’s been no message posted by Nucleus admin.

On the other hand, when AB said they’ll go off for 30 minutes citing maintenance, it was posted all over their site as well as alternative links and forum pages. It’s quite normal for websites to undergo temporary downtime due to scheduled upgrades, including online stores, banking apps and so forth. Some even take longer than what AlphaBay Market announced on their site. In such cases, one user commented that he would not worry about a thing until after 4hrs. had elapsed, only then can he start to panic. But this explanation didn’t go well with a couple of users, who instead thought that the darknet site was only putting the message up to tumble/trade coins. Whilst in the meantime stopping website trackers from mentioning that the portal is down. All being said, such are the kind of risks investors should expect when doing illegal trade on the darkweb. Vendors must always be prepared for anything that may happen. The site came back on a few hours later and now everything is okay.

AlphaBay “Shansa” Busted On Drug Sales

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cocaine1-300x200The Bundeskriminalamt apprehended a Viennese man (he has not been named by authorities till now) on October 13, 2015, according to reports. The reports also indicate that the authorities seized illegal substances including 1 kg. of ecstasy, 2.8 kg. of amphetamines, LSD blotters, cocaine and a number of research drugs from the house of the 31-year-old Alpha Bay Market vendor. Additionally, the police found illegal guides on his computer and a tableting machine, which, according to them, could be made use of in the production of speed pills and ecstasy. In the dark web, this vendor was widely known by the name Shansa.

The authorities found out that Shansa, the Alpha Bay vendor, carried out as many as 182 drug sales transactions internationally. He sold illegal substances not only in Europe and the United States, but also in Australia and even in India. According to authorities, he also executed 73 domestic illegal substance sale transactions with the buyers from Austria. In a period of just about five months, the darknet market vendor was able to make as much as 15,000 Euro through the sale of illegal substances, according to a report published by the law enforcement authorities.

Alpha Bay Market

Last year, Alpha Bay Market had reported that the number of users on their website had hit the 200,000 mark. The admin of the darknet marketplace had conveyed this news through a post published on the forums. The admin had also thanked the users, on behalf of all of the site’sstaff, the users for their continued support, faith and effort in shaping up their website up as a top-grade online black market.

The site experienced tremendous growth and became one of the biggest darknet black market operators after Agora was closed down in 2015. Alpha Bay introduced several updates to their website and added a range of functionalities in order to maintain their status in the dark web. And through ScamWatch, Alpha Bay was able to stop most of the vendor exit scams, ban many scammers and also offer help to victims by processing their refund requests using the balance funds available in the accounts of banned vendors.
alpha-bay-market-1Alpha Bay experienced a DDoS attack in December last year and as part of their mitigation effort they introduced additional changes, including UI upgrade and, most importantly, the PGP-signed deposit address upgrade, which is meant to handle the dreaded onion cloner phishing scams. They also advised users that they verify the PGP signatures of their deposit addresses against the market PGP key available on the website’s “Contact” page.

In February 2016, Alpha Bay introduced several improvements to their wallets and withdrawal systems with a view to enhance the anonymity of the users of their marketplace. This was followed with the introduction of two-factor authentication (2FA) in March 2016 in order to ensure more security to user accounts. 2FA requires login attempts to be cleared by a user by providing another piece of information, for example, a code sent to their mobile number. This enables Alpha Bay to segregate genuine and not-so-genuine logins attempts.

Alpha Bay Market, which came into existence after the closure of Silk Road 2.0, is an online black market that operates on the Tor network. Launched towards the end of 2014, the website experienced a great deal of patronage within a short span of time. In about a years’ time, Alpha Bay Market became the biggest online black market.

On Alpha Bay Market, the category that experiences maximum sales is drugs. The website has tens of thousands of drug listings, including cocaine, marijuana and MMDA, among others. Watches (counterfeit or stolen), guns, and stolen credit card information are also sold on the site.

All said and done, Alpha Bay Market is one among the few online black markets that offer multiple security measures like Multisig transactions (2/3), 2FA, Withdrawal PIN, Forced vendor PGP and vendor bond. In addition, the website rates vendors on the basis of customer reviews so as to prevent scamming vendors as much as possible.

Vendor Shops Not as Tech-Savvy As Dark Web Markets Like AlphaBay

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Darknet markets provide a myriad of privacy and safety advantages compared to buying illegal substances on the street. The system may be regarded as imperfect, but offers more reliable information to users than that which the street transactions currently exhibit. Cryptomarkets hold the potential to cut down harm that may be caused by traditional drug markets in contrast to the online trade. This is favorable in terms of lower violent crimes connected directly to the drug trade, such as the possibility of being robbed, attacked or murdered. Alpha Bay ranks to be the biggest darknet market today. Drug dealers are grasping the opportunity of closing deals without face-to-face contact, coming up with vendor shops, but not without risks brought about by overlooked digital footprints.

The Tech-Savvy Generation

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Last year 2015, Bengaluru police stated how the tech-savvy generation of today is more accustomed to using online services, whereby more people are choosing the online route which lets them buy drugs and distribute it anonymously. Though daunting, it’s actually simple for anybody to do with basic knowledge of the internet and means to hide their IP address. This kind of customer base of darknet shoppers could mean drug sales moving from mainly street-based to becoming an online staple.

This promising lucrativity has led drug dealers to start their own digital shops. A report released by the European drugs agency reveals how they are becoming tech-savvy in line with the rise of the online drug trade. However, it’s evidently not as tech-savvy as those behind the main sites such as Alpha Bay which remains functional as of today. The slightest fault could pave the way towards enforcement agents utilizing data to filter out and track the drug deals to individual computers.

With police keeping up with technology as well, sites on the dark web can be unpredictable and its life may be cut short anytime. It’s not only law enforcement operations that present a bumpy ride but downtime and exit scams that present both buyers and sellers added worry about its owners and their hidden plans.

Dark Web Criminals Make Human Mistakes

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Staying anonymous on the dark web is a constant challenge to overcome, even with the help of anonymizing networks such as Tor and regardless of stature and tenure as drug vendor or administrator.

Ross Ulbricht, creator of Silk Road apparently asked for help in a forum in relevance to the site, who then posted his personal email address in the process. Blake Benthall, alleged operator of Silk Road 2.0, made the life-changing act of registering a server under his own name. Another sloppiness or audacity, or anything you want to call it, tells of a suspected drug dealer who attempted to trademark his brand under his own name.

It’s been further unraveled how some illegal sites are leaking identifying information about the owners. A site run by Doctor Drugs is hosted on the same server as “The Polish Connect,” another hidden service that may lead to the vendor’s location. The Outlaw Market forum,mostly offering drugs, has its “server status” page exposed, by which anybody can see technical information about the site. The Real Deal offering computer exploits, and Charlie UK (a site own by a cocaine dealer) had the same issues; while Rechard Sport counterfeit goods vendor, The Intelligent Black Market, and The French Connection had their own. These indiscretions put both dealers and buyers at risk, a common mistake by drug dealers switching from selling on marketplaces to starting their own digital shops, compared to more secure dark web marketplaces such as Alpha Bay.

Thanks to OnionScan, a custom tool that serves the purpose of making sites a better onion service provider, these issues such as image data, open directories, and exposed server status pages have been discovered. It was developed by independent security researcher Sarah Jamie Lewis.

With some common sense and proper research prior to utilizing marketplaces, like Alpha Bay who puts a focus on security and protection, one can save themselves from the headaches and all the trouble.

The Biggest Darknet Market

One of the stories on the dark web that shook its community must be the exit scam of the Evolution marketplace. The site owners created a stable community and became a prime contender that’s capable of replacing Silk Road, right before they shut down and disappeared with $12 million worth of users bitcoins. Despite the turmoil, other darknet sites like Alpha Bay stood strong.

Alpha Bay was founded by alpha02, reputable carder and carding forum member who has helped others through their concerns. He then decided to start his own marketplace, which has gained massive popularity and displayed a huge growth spurt in a relatively short time. The Alpha Bay site has its own categories and two streamlined and distinguished groups of users, buyers, and vendors. What makes the Alpha Bay distinctive among the rest of its competitors is the increased security levels the admin has implemented on the site.

Just recently, Alpha Bay beefed up its online security protocols and has announced as well that they would start enforcing stronger security measures. The latest security tactics involve pin based logins and 2FA or Two-Factor authentication. They aim to give their users protection against phishing attacks and possible hacking of user accounts, which works to both purchasers and sellers’ advantage and the long life of the Alpha Bay marketplace.

Massive Selection of Goods On AlphaBay

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fighting-europes-capital-cyber-crime (1)The mechanics of operation of a free market is better understood by observing as to how an online black market works. In these times of cybercrime, the dark web can be considered as the best source for understanding the market dynamics. The dark web, which has evolved into a cybercrime economy over the years and increasingly specialized in the division of labor, is the place where fraudsters and identity thieves peddle their wares.

Today, the darknet markets offer a staggering menu of options as they quickly commoditize many widely available products and services, including stolen credit card details, social security numbers, full identity information, malware and other tools for just a few bucks. For launching a Distributed Denial of Service DDoS) attack or a stressor campaign against a target, a Botnet booter can be hired for a rental payment of less than $100 a day. Further, malware authors make available both malware-as-a-service and software for sale in the SaaS model for different ranges of prices.

Certain services and items such as 0-day vulnerability information fetch attackers more money as they are used for more targeted campaigns. As such, the illicit marketplaces on the dark web function as true businesses, offering several components bundled into special discount packages to customers who want to make a fast buck. In fact, the dark web economy is very sophisticated and complex.

AlphaBay
Alphabay Market, one such online darknet market that operates on the Tor network, came into existence after Silk Road 2.0 was shut down by the federal authorities. Following its pre-launch in November 2014, AlpahBay was officially launched on 22nd December 2014. As many as 14,000 new users joined the AlphaBay site in just about the first 90 days of its operation. Gwern.net, the website that provides information on darknet markets, even placed AlphaBay in the top tier based on the 6-month survival probability. Since then, AlphaBay has experienced steady growth.

In order to access AlphaBay, users are required to download Tor and use a special address. It takes only seconds to open an account on the website. The website is organized on the basis of categories of products and services offered, as in the case of other e-commerce websites, except that users cannot find listings for drugs, weapons or porn on Amazon or eBay.

The hottest selling item on AlphaBay is, without any doubt, drugs. There are more than 36,000 listings for cocaine, marijuana, MMDA and everything else in between them. Some vendors sell watches on the website. They may or may not be counterfeit or stolen. Some other vendors sell guns, while yet others sell guides costing less than one dollar that could help users make C4 explosives. Users can also purchase stolen credit card numbers on the website for less than $10. According to some review websites, there are more than 62,000 products listed on AlphaBay website.

AlphaBay is a darknet market that offers security measures such as Multisig transactions (2/3), 2FA (two-factor authentication), Withdrawal PIN, Vendor bond and Forced vendor PGP. For the multi sig transaction to work, both the seller and buyer are required to set their public multi sig key in their profile.

ScamAdditionally, AlphaBay uses the “Scam Watch” feature. It involves a team of the most trusted AlphaBay community members having a strong background in hacking, malware, fraud, etc., focusing on detecting as well as preventing different types of scams. They are paid to do this job and have been given the authority to freeze vendor accounts if they are suspected of scamming or if their account gets hacked. So far, the team has banned more than 200 vendors and successfully deflected a number of exit scams.

Finally, customers are required to leave reviews about the experience they had on the website as well as with the vendor as users do on Amazon and eBay sites. Positive feedback helps sellers to enjoy better trust levels on AlphaBay. This is an important metric that customers make use of to gauge whether a vendor or seller will scam them or not.

AlphaBay Market: New Improvements To Its Withdrawal & Wallets System

digital walletAlphaBay Market, currently the largest dark web marketplace, has just introduced a new set of security measures to improve users’ anonymity. Withdrawal & wallets systems have been enhanced so that they are now less susceptible to hacking. Withdrawals will be made in separate transactions for better privacy, all thanks to a new bitcoin tumbling system. Nevertheless, AlphaBay Market users still have the option of requesting for a single transaction at a minimal fee.

Additional security measures have also been imposed to obfuscate wallets, meaning that it’s now impossible to profile their hot wallets. Moreover, deposits addresses have been changed so users are advised to check the “Balance” page before making any deposits to an AlphaBay Market account.

In a recent post, administrators stated that their key role as the biggest online market is protecting buyers and sellers in the event they get arrested and make sure nothing can be proven against them. AlphaBay Market has implemented added security measures on its wallets to avoid profiling.

Some sites such as Coinbase and Circle are known for shutting down suspicious accounts fast, especially those that send bitcoins to online marketplaces on the dark web. This is done via a special technique known as “address input clustering.” It works this way. For instance, users make deposits on addresses 1, 2, 3 and another three individuals on 4, 5, 6. If a withdrawal is made on 1 and 2, blockchain analysis can show that they are being part of the same “cluster.” The typical default reaction of bitcoin is combining all inputs into one single transaction. So it is presumed that double inputs made in one transaction are part of the same wallet. If a withdrawal is made again from 4, 5 and 6, then that’s considered a new cluster.

This simply means that two distinct clusters have been made; 1, 2 and 4, 5, 6. If another transaction is made using 2 and 4, then linked together these two clusters, it will form one large cluster of 1, 2, 4, 5, 6. The process continues until a predictable pattern of the online market’s holdings is discovered. Other sites such as those mentioned above have their own analysis techniques and hold lists of addresses which are updated daily, that are believed to be part of a darknet market, they close all accounts directly involved with these address “clusters.”

According to AlphaBay Market, most high end bitcoin exchanges also actively analyze blockchain this way. Filing suspicious transaction reports if any user is suspected of conducting darknet market activities. Even though blockchain analysis doesn’t pass as court-admissible evidence in the US, it still gives investigators a decent clue on where to begin their search.

blockchain

As most AlphaBay Market users might have noticed, in the past few days withdrawals were being done in many small transactions. Admin explained that they were still using the old bitcoin wallet while testing new features, hence the delays. But now a new wallet system has been introduced which will address the previous challenges. Transactions will be sent in small increments, with a randomized fee and time frame structures, as well as using single inputs to prevent all forms of blockchain analysis tracking.

Currently, AlphaBay Market has fully anonymous wallets. Apart from this new security measure, there are others that have been implemented as well to further improve safety and security. For instance, all addresses and individual transaction IDs will be deleted after 7 days. Order notes are also deleted after every 30 days period.

Over 57% Of Darknet Sites Offer Unlawful Items, Study Shows

Researchers have found out that a number of websites on the dark web like the AlphaBay do actually sell illicit material, but majority of such material they sell are not porn. The dark web is a conglomeration of hidden websites as well as services that can be accessed only by way of the Tor network. Recently published research on the dark web reveals that more than 57 percent of these hidden websites are hosting some kind of illegal content on their sites.

darknet

Researchers Thomas Rid and Daniel Moore, both from King’s College in London, created a customized script that was able to parse through as many as 5,025 numbers of live .onion-based websites. They found out that as many as 1,547 sites on the dark web hosted some material or other that can considered as criminal in nature. The leading activity on websites like AlphaBay appears to be centered on drugs. The financial criminal activities come in a close second.

The finding of the dark web researchers is definitely not a shocking revelation. This is because the very nature of the Tor network, which promises security and privacy, tends to attract clandestine type of operators and operations.

Researchers noted that the founders of the Tor network, who are exceedingly idealistic in many ways, appreciate the fact that a better reputation is essential for better security and that a bad reputation often leads to a compromise of security. They also point out that political leaders and law enforcement authorities would target activities that attract a great deal of clientele as Tor seems to do. According to them, it is a difficult and confusing problem. This is because a balance has to be struck in order to ensure that the Tor network continues to exist.

AlphaBay

Alphabay is a darknet market that operates on Tor. The darknet market was officially launched on 22nd December 2014. The marketplace was founded by alpha02, a reputable member on most of the carding forums. After helping many carders on carding forums, he started his own marketplace.

AlphaBay-Market

The site has seen a steady growth and within the first 90 days, they had as many as 14,000 new users. Gwern.net, the darknet informer website, even placed AlphaBay at the top based on a 6-month survival probability. Digital Citizens Alliance research director Dan Palumbo recognized AlphaBay as the largest among online darknet markets.

AlphaBay allows vendors to sell drugs, stolen credit card information, weapons and many other illegal items in exchange for payments in Bitcoin for the purpose of anonymity. The marketplace allows users to protect their accounts by using what is called Two-Factor Authentication.

AlphaBay processes transactions by means of an Escrow system which is centralized with a view to provide protection to all the buyers. As and when a transaction is initiated, the money is held in the Escrow till the buyers acknowledge the receipt of goods. Additionally, the marketplace offers a decentralized multi-signature system, wherein a private key is released to a seller only upon finalization.

In May 2015, AlphaBay announced the introduction of an integrated escrow system for digital contracts, which allows users to provide services in the future as per the agreed terms of the contract.

AlphaBay Sells both Legal and Illegal Goods and Services

In March 2015, it was reported that AlphaBay sold stolen Uber accounts. The marketplace put on sale data stolen from TalkTalk based in London after the telecommunications company witnessed a major hack in October 2015.

A podcast released by the website CodeBreaker talked about shopping experience on AlphaBay and purchase of legal goods such as pharmaceutical drugs.