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Darknetstats Got Hacked – Culprit Dark.fail

hack

Updated July 22nd, 2019

Hello everyone, JohnMarsh here the admin & owner of Darknetstats. Today i thought i should give you guys some news about the recent downtime our site experienced yesterday. “We got hacked”. Yes, this is true. It was somewhat unexpected thing for us. We weren’t ready about this kind of situation. So i think it is best to inform our audience about the background of the hack and future steps/strategy we will be taking.

As you all know we are a new website that is aiming to fill the space that have been left after the seizure of deepdotweb. We started back in the early days of may as a small time side project. After a few weeks we saw tremendous growth which forced us to make the decision to make it our full time project. So we kept adding new features and content which helped us gain very good amount of traffic. As the decision was already taken to make this project full time so went ahead and started spreading the word on reddit.

The Hurdles on Reddit

We started our awareness campaign on reddit. All of the famous sub reddits accepted our submissions and allowed us to post which was extreme encouraging for us. We started to gain more and more traction. Lots of traffic coming to our site which was extremely refreshing knowing that good work always get paid. Traffic wise everything was ok but there was organized campaign started against us on reddit by a handful of accounts. We started to think what is going on?

The Research

As a new site that aimed to take deepdotweb’s place, we started to think who can be responsible against us in this campaign. At first thought it was LE. But it quickly went away when we started to co relate the data in all of these posts. The culprit was exposed within hours.

The Real Culprit

After analyzing all of the post and co relating all the data, we found out that in every post the poster was talking about dark.fail in some way or another. It was very strange for us that why were they mentioning darkfail every time they posted against us. Things started to clear every more when we went to dread forum and started our first thread. Immediately not even they did ban us but also they blacklisted the “Darknetstats”. Remember it was our first post and they did this to us which made us to think there might be a relation between darkfail and dread. Coming back to the point , after our analysis darkfail was the clear culprit against us in this smear campaign.

Things didn’t stopped there what happened next was even more strange, unexpected and outrageous which we weren’t prepared for.

The Proof

I checked my email that day and i found this threatening message which was sent to us directly by darkfail team.

threatening message
Threatening message from darkfail team

It was totally unexpected thing for us, the language used was very harsh. They asked us to remove all the darkweb links. We politely replied and refused to remove anything as they weren’t owned by them.

our reply
Our polite reply to their threatening email

This was the message we got as a reply

reply by darkfail
reply by darkfail

At this time, there was no point talking to this mean individual. So we didn’t reply to his further emails. After a day we our website went down, we didn’t knew the reason so we went ahead and contacted our hosting company. Here are the screenshots

support ticket at our hosting provider’s site
ddos
Ticket showing the ddos attack on our site

So their show of power was to bring down our website by a ddos attack. We went ahead turned our cloudflare ddos protection on. This mitigated the ddos attack and made our site back online. Relief? Not so much…….

The Ultimatum

Next thing we got an email from darkfail and this time “Death Threats”. This was probably the most strong worded threat for us so far.

Death Threats
Death Threats

A few hours later, our site went offline. This time it wasn’t ddos so we knew straight away that we got hacked.

Message
Message to our hosting provider
System admin's response
System admin’s response

The darkfail team destroyed our database. That was a total shock for us because we never expected something like this. As a privacy and anonymity activist it was the most frustrating thing to happen. But thankfully we back up database every time so it wasn’t a loss for us, only just a downtime.

On the other hand it will make us come out even more stronger and will help keep us expose and weed out dark, greedy and uncivilized agents out of our ever growing darknet community.

I again thank all the community for your love and support. I promise me and my team will never let you down.

Thanks and Good day – John Marsh

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Written by John Marsh

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