Dream Market Scheduled to Close Due to Persistent DDoS Attacks

The past week has the darknet community speculating as to what might be the fate of Dream Market after a post on the site said that the marketplace will close down on April 30, 2019 and it will transfer its services to a partner company.Dream Market announcment for shutting down.

As history shows, markets typically fall either through hacks, exit scams or seizures by law enforcement. Users are assuming one of these likely outcomes—with the most probability being seizure by law enforcement.

The reason is that the announcement came a day after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that through J-CODE they had launched Operation SaboTor, which had led to the arrest of 61 suspects involved in the trafficking of opioids.

The recent operation came a year later after a similar one dubbed Operation Disarray, which led to the arrest of several individuals in the U.S.

Statement from Dream Market on the Shutdown

Despite the speculations that the market had been taken over by authorities, an admin of the marketplace posted a message on Dread (a darknet forum) claiming that the closure and transfer of services to another company is as a result of persistent DDoS attacks over the past seven weeks.Dread dark net forum screenshot.

The attacker demanded that Dream parts ways with $400,000 to stop the disruptions, but the admins have not given in to the demands.

The post goes on to say that the admins have done as much as possible on their side to contain the situation, but it is beyond their ability because the issue is on the side of the Tor browser and, thus, beyond their control.

Among the moves they tried to fix the situation is by creating a V3 link which they hoped would save things because it is more updated. However, according to the admin, this fell short of fixing the problem.

The post also states that users can still withdraw their funds without any issues.

Also, the admin dismissed any claims that the market is taken over by law enforcement because if it were the case, then users would not have the opportunity to initiate withdrawals. He then calls upon those with questions to contact support and they will get sorted out.

Lastly, the post thanks everyone for supporting Dream Market, and they are expecting to see people join the new site upon its launch.

What Happens After the Launch of the New Market?

Since the statement is from the admin, we can note a few things that will happen after the new market is live.

First, these companies do work together and as such, individuals who had accounts in the previous market will most likely not be required to create new ones, but instead use their previous username and password.

The case was evident when Silk Road 3.1 (SR3) was running Lunacy Market, a site that hosted only verified members of SR3.

Those who had accounts on Silk Road could use their credentials to log in to Lunacy, and those who had registered on Lunacy could do the same on SR3.

Comments on Dread

Following the ban on the Reddit forum /r/DarkNetMarkets last year, darknet users have made use of forums like Dread to discuss darknet-related topics.

Apart from the official Dream statement on Dread, there have been other numerous posts and comments about the closure of the market, some which even caught the attention of HugBunter, the founder of Dread.

One question by a particular user was seeking responses as to why the market was facing a DDoS attack, and yet there was a Captcha to fill in before logging in.DarknetMarkets dread forum category.

HugBunter gave a comprehensive response as to why the dark web’s longest-serving marketplace was unable to contain the situation.

The Dread founder said that such types of attacks affect the Tor processes on the server and the effect is that there will be no requests sent to the site. As such, there is no possible way of connecting to the service.

HugBunter goes ahead and explains that an application layer attack does not affect the connection to the Tor network and overload the web server which is responsible for serving the pages to the site.Hugbunter post about Dream Market shut down screenshot.

It works by overloading the web server processes, PHP and database management system, among other things, which cause continuous malfunctions.

HugBunter further explains and says, “Adding a static page that requires no real resources other than the Captcha image prevents any load hitting the application unless their connection is first verified by filling the Captcha.”

So for the case of Dream, Captcha would only work if the attack was of a specific type, just as was the case when Dread experienced a DDoS attack.

So the Dream attacker improvised his attack in the sense that it can bypass this security measure.

When Dread was under DDoS attacks, HugBunter was able to contain the situation, but when Dream tried doing the same, it failed because the attacker had already changed the method before the tech team could come up with a solution.

Then in another post, a user wanted to know reasons as to why he should think that Dread is not under the control of the feds.Dread darknet forum posts screenshot.

In a response, HugBunter said that it is funny that a vast majority of individuals out there have misinterpreted the situation and yet the truth is that the marketplace is rebranding because of the DDoS attacks.

To him, he fails to understand how this will help because the hacker will orchestrate similar attacks on the new site, which will have less traffic than Dream Market.HugBunter post on dread forum screenshot.

HugBunter wonders why people out here are associating the attack to a seizure because if it were the case, then there would be no way users would have been allowed to withdraw their funds. More so, it would make no sense for law enforcement to take over a market and then plan to start a new one with less users than the previous one.

To HugBunter, it seems like these speculations are coming from the law enforcement agencies to raise distrust and fear among the community.

Then in another post that is worth mentioning, another Dread user alleges that there is no involvement of law enforcement and real reason as to why Dream Market is closing down is because SpeedStepper (Dream’s head admin) is retiring due to his identity being compromised, and he does not want the marketplace to be taken over by just anybody.Screenshot of Dream Market converstion on darknet forums.

In the post, he states that the site is being transferred to someone who was a close associate of SpeedStepper and they are using Dream to advertise the new avenue that will be operating under the onion address weroidjkazxqds2l.onion, which is currently offline.

The user also wonders what effect transferring the new market will have, because it can still fall under a similar attack like Dream.

Darknet Market Target of DDoS Attacks

It is not the first time that we are hearing of an underground marketplace falling because of a DDoS attack. Back in October 2017, the top markets went offline because of the same reason only to be opened again over a month later.

Then a few weeks ago, Empire Market reported a DoS attack, and it took them around three to four days to figure out the issue and contain the situation.

In a Dread post, the Empire admin says that the marketplace is not in favor of using mirrors because more use of the same means that there will be more phishing links, which is a big problem to darknet users.Screenshot of Empire Market's dealing with ddos attacks.

However, the solution they came up with to combat DoS attacks still involves the use of mirrors. It works by redirecting the main onion link to working mirrors which will at times requires one to reset their Tor browser.

The attack, he claims, is just hitting the onion meeting points which results in the build-up time to 1,000. This then mimics that the Tor process is having issues, when it is not.

An attack of this type is simple to contain according to the post, but the vulnerability needs to be worked on by Tor because it is a significant flaw.

Lastly, Empire calls upon other sites that have a similar problem to reach out to them for a solution. Up to date, the market is still facing the attack, but they claim the situation is under control.

Other Markets Experiencing an Influx of Registrations

Similar to the mid-2017 fall of AlphaBay and Hansa that led to an influx of new registrants in other markets, the same is no different in this case. Perhaps, the only difference is that this is not a confirmed take over by law enforcement.

In a post on the subdread /d/WallStreetMarket, the community manager explained that Wall Street Market had acquired new infrastructure to cater for the new registrations, which seem to be beyond their hardware capacity.Darknet market announcing that its not working.

He further calls upon patience as they try to sort out issues.

On the other hand, another darknet market, The Majestic Garden, announced on its subdread that they had closed registrations because of an increase in the amount of new accounts.

The Majectic Garden post about its closed registration.

According to the post, the admin highlights that it has been their protocol that whenever there is a significant shakeup in the darknet scene—registrations are closed until things have settled down.

As of now, the dark web continues to be unpredictable with events unfolding by the day. And for the case of Dream and other markets, only time will tell the ultimate outcome.

Hacker Selling Third Round of Stolen Databases on Dream Market

overhead hacker in the hood working with laptop and mobile phone typing text in dark room
A hacker known as “Gnosticplayers” is selling a set of stolen on the darknet market Dream Market—the third in a series of data dumps.

A hacker known by the handle “Gnosticplayers” has listed a set of hacked databases for sale on Dream Market.

This batch of databases is the third the hacker has posted on the dark web marketplace. Previously, he had published a set of batches, the first with 16 databases that contained data from 620 million users while the second featured eight databases containing data from 127 million users.

In his latest post, Gnosticplayers published eight hacked databases that contain data from 92.76 million users. In this batch, the biggest name is GfyCat, a renowned GIF hosting and sharing platform.

Combined, all eight databases are valued at 2.6249 Bitcoin (BTC), which is equivalent to about $9,400, and each of these databases is being sold individually on Dream Market.

Gnosticplayers took credit for all the hacks and stated that he is not a typical intermediary. What’s more, the hacker outlined that he intends to sell more than a billion user records and subsequently escape with the money. Currently, his database collection amounts to about 840 million records.

In his statement to media outlet ZDNet, he outlined that his two primary objectives are to get money as well as see the downfall of a select group of Americans he referred to as “American Pigs.” He concluded the interview by stating that more is to come and in particular, a hack on a cryptocurrency exchange.

The List of Hacked Websites

Gnosticplayers outlined that the third round of stolen databases for sale on Dream Market belongs to the following eight websites:

  1. GIF hosting and sharing service GfyCat: 8 million records (.35 BTC)
  2. Real estate site StreetEasy: 1 million records (.175 BTC)
  3. Fitness and yoga service ClassPass: 1.5 million records (.204 BTC)
  4. Mobile payment service Onebip: 2.6 million records (.2626 BTC)
  5. Movie streaming platform Legendas.tv: 3.9 million records (.35 BTC)
  6. Online publishing service Storybird: 4 million records (.2334 BTC)
  7. Online job portal website Jobandtalent: 11 million records (.4669 BTC)
  8. Photo editor website Pizap: 60 million (.583 BTC)

None of these eight companies listed by the hacker had reported a data breach before his post. Even so, some of the listed firms have since admitted to being victims of security breaches, something which validates the hacker’s claims as well as the legitimacy of the data that is on sale on

Bringing Attention to the Case of Imprisoned Hacker

The listings were also accompanied by a distinct message. The message is a brief outline of the treatment of U.K. national George Duke-Cohan, a member of the infamous Apophis Squad hacking group, which is notorious for DDoS attacks.

Arrested computer hacker and cyber criminal with handcuffs, close up of hands.
Similarly, now the U.S. government is also looking to sentence the hacker to a 65-year jail term for the same offenses that led the U.K. government to sentence him for three years.

Last summer, he was arrested, convicted, and then handed a three-year sentence in December 2018. Per the terms of his sentence, he’s serving one year for the offense of emailing bomb threats to several schools and two years for a threat to a United Airlines flight while on bail.

The message from Gnosticplayers starts by recognizing Duke-Cohan’s talents, then going on to say that rather than the U.K. government allowing him to develop his skills, it decides to put him behind bars for three years.

Similarly, now the U.S. government is also looking to sentence the hacker to a 65-year jail term for the same offenses that led the U.K. government to sentence him for three years. An indictment naming Duke-Cohan’s charges was filed February 8 by the Central District of California.

This, Gnosticplayers argues, is judging the innocent man twice, and as such, the release of these databases is to serve as a reminder to the governments.

What’s more, the message also pinpoints that when nations pledge to respect its citizens, they have a moral responsibility to fulfill this promise—something that the U.K. government did not do, Gnosticplayers argues.

In extension, Gnosticplayers states that it would not surprise him if Duke-Cohan commits suicide. This is particularly since the U.K. government already played their part in his demise, which to him feels like a death sentence. Finally, the message concludes by outlining that if justice is not served on his case, more data leaks are to be expected.

Data Breaches Call for Strict Security Measures 

Over the last few years, website breaches and the subsequent sale of user data on the dark web has shed light into how severe cybercrime can be. Cybersecurity experts and website operators alike are now encouraging all users to be more vigilant and work hard to ensure that their accounts remain secure by following strict security measures.

According to the experts, these measures include regularly changing passwords and using different, strong passwords for different accounts.

Users concerned about their data being exposed can confirm whether their details are secure using the data breach-checking website HaveIBeenSpwned.com.

Dunkin’ Donuts Loyalty Points Accounts Offered Cheap on the Dark Web

dunkin donuts sign in cologne germany
Hackers using credential stuffing software have breached Dunkin’ Donuts loyalty program accounts, which are now being sold cheaply on the dark web.

These are troubling times for cybersecurity, and it appears that the latest victim to hackers is Dunkin’ Donuts.

This coffee chain’s loyalty points accounts have been targeted, jeopardizing the sweet treats that have kept many customers going back for more.

A press statement issued by Dunkin’ Donuts says that hackers effectively figured out how to access DD Perks accounts.

The hackers may have gained access to clients’ names, email addresses, “DD Perks” account numbers and QR codes.

The Dunkin’ Donuts security advisory [PDF] says the company believes that the cybercriminals obtained clients’ information and passwords by utilizing other organizations’ security breaches.

They used the information to sign into some Dunkin’ Donuts Perks accounts.

What Happened to the Hacked Accounts?

Like in many other data breaches, these hacked accounts end up being sold on the dark web.

Hackers don’t go through all the trouble of obtaining such pertinent user information just to fuel their sweet ego—money is the primary motive.

The dark web is already awash with plenty of hacked loyalty program accounts including the recent ones from Dunkin’ Donuts. And they are being sold at a dumping price.

Some merchants on Dream Market, one of the top darknet marketplaces operating today, have already been vending hacked Dunkin’ Donuts loyalty points accounts.

One was selling for $10 a DD Perk account that had $25 of loyalty credit. Another merchant was selling $100 of DD loyalty credit at only $26.

DD Perks program, a mobile application rewards program, appears to have no stringent security regulations.

The merchants on the dark web’s Dream Market are moving the accounts because third parties can still get free treats using the accounts.

A computer programmer or hacker prints a code on a laptop keyboard to break into a secret organization system.
The hackers don’t need to be computer geeks, and the software sifts through different usernames and passwords by trial and error until a match is found.

The merchants even tell would-be customers how to use the hacked accounts by logging into the app (using the hacked credentials) and presenting to the cashier for bill discounts.

Credential Stuffing

Experts have analyzed the Dunkin’ Donuts attack and directly linked it to automation such as the kind used in credential stuffing.

The software in question is so readily available on sites such as Dream Market that such cyberattacks are growing rampant.

The hackers don’t need to be computer geeks, and the software sifts through different usernames and passwords by trial and error until a match is found. Credential stuffing can result in a serious attack within a short time.

In Summary:

  • Hackers have targeted Dunkin’ Donuts loyalty point accounts in a massive cyberattack. Dunkin’ Donuts loyalty point accounts are for regular customers to redeem points for rewards or discounts on baked products or coffee.
  • The hackers made away with clients’ usernames and passwords which they used to log into the accounts and change user information.
  • The attackers are now selling these accounts on darknet platforms like Dream Market.
  • DD Perks accounts are selling at a very low price on the dark web; some sellers are charging only $10 for a Dunkin’ Donuts account that is worth $25 of loyalty credit while a $100 DD Perk account is going for as low as $26.
  • Alongside these low priced loyalty point accounts, Dream Market also sells credential stuffing software that does all the work of finding emails and the right password combination.

Hackers don’t have to be advanced tech geniuses to access your information.

Dream Market Moderator Sentenced to 20 Years

in handcuffs. arrest. a crime. law. execution of sentences
A Florida court sentenced Dream Market moderator “OxyMonster” to 20 years in prison for charges including drug distribution and money laundering.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has sentenced Gal Vallerius to 20 years in prison for narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges.

Vallerius, a 36-year-old French national, was periodically serving as a senior moderator and administrator of Dream Market.

On the darknet marketplace, Vallerius went by the nickname “OxyMonster.”

He pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute illegal substances and conspiracy to money laundering.

Vallerius made a guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Scola Jr. earlier this year.

On top of his 240-month sentence, he was ordered to forfeit around 100 Bitcoin and 122 units of Bitcoin Cash.

The final sentencing of 20 years was handed to him in court last week.

Role as Dream Market Moderator ‘OxyMonster’

Dream Market began its operations around November 2013 on the dark web.

The underground site facilitated the promotion and sale of illicit items anonymously. The site grew to become one of the largest underground online markets.

Users paid for products and services on Dream Market using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are the main forms of payment on dark web markets.

Members of the South Florida High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) carried out the investigation and prosecution against Vallerius.

His participation in illegal activities started when he became a vendor on Dream Market. As a vendor, OxyMonster dealt with the sale of Ritalin and Oxycodone.

Dream Market employed Vallerius as a senior moderator and administrator shortly after he began his ventures.

According to the court, these roles allowed Vallerius to support illicit transactions between users of the dark web site.

These daily transactions included narcotics trafficking, processing illicit proceeds, and laundering money using cryptocurrencies and tumblers.

Arrest in 2017

 

Sentence word written on wood block. Sentence text on table, concept.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has sentenced Gal Vallerius to 20 years in prison for narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges.

Vallerius was arrested last August when he was traveling with his wife from France to Texas.

 

He was planning to take part in the 2017 World Beard and Moustache Championships held in Austin.

En route, he was detained upon arrival in Atlanta, Georgia for questioning and subsequently arrested by U.S. law enforcement authorities.

Vallerius still had his trademark long beard at the time of his sentencing this month.

According to a DEA affidavit, Vallerius’ laptop contained evidence that was crucial in the case.

This included the Tor browser, his Dream Market login credentials and Bitcoin worth $500,000.

Under Vallerius’ plea deal [PDF], he had agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors and the DEA with the aim of reducing his ultimate sentence.

Following his arrest, he faced up to life in prison on an indictment in Miami, Florida.

The 20-year prison sentence is half the maximum jail time amount Judge Scola could have handed Vallerius.

He is the second darknet market administrator to plead guilty to charges in the U.S. this month, after former Silk Road administrator Gary Davis pleaded guilty to drug charges on October 5.

Alleged Dream Market Vendor Indicted on Drug-Related Charges

Cocaine Abuse in society has always been a relatively big problem
A 39-year-old Connecticut man known online as “1NOLEFB1” has been indicted on dark web drug trafficking charges in addition to firearms charges.

A 39-year-old man from Norwich, Connecticut is the latest dark web drug vendor to fall into the arm of the law, but unlike most of the other offenders, he already has two charges hanging over his head, and this will make it his third strike if found guilty.

The man, Barry Duclos, was charged and convicted on charges of selling narcotics back in 2001, and then in March of 2017, he was convicted once again, this time for third-degree larceny.

The Norwich resident is once again in trouble with the law after he was arrested in February for trafficking fentanyl analogues on the dark web.

Duclos operated from Dream Market, which is currently one of the biggest marketplaces in the dark web. He used an account with the alias “1NOLEFB1.”

Statements and court documents presented before a federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut between September 2017 and February 2018 alleged that Duclos advertised and sold fentanyl analogues on the platform, fulfilling his customers’ orders the same way many other dark web drug vendors do—via the U.S. Postal Service.

Raid and 11-Count Indictment

In the raid that followed his arrest, an amount of fentanyl was recovered as well as a loaded YHM rifle with several magazines including two extended magazines. The rifle had a round in the chamber as well.

Duclos has stayed in police custody since his arrest in February, most likely because this was not his first encounter with the law.

Hands finishing the final steps in rolling a joint. Related cannabis or marijuana smoking items nearby.
A 39-year-old man from Norwich, Connecticut is the latest dark web drug vendor to fall into the arm of the law

He was charged with eight counts of possessing and distributing fentanyl analogues, one count of possessing and distributing over 10 grams of fentanyl analogues, one count of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon, and an additional count of possessing a firearm for the purpose of furthering a drug trafficking crime.

Each of the eight counts of possession carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years while the offense of possessing and distributing over 10 grams of fentanyl has a minimum prison sentence of a period of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years.

It is considered a breach of federal law for a convicted felon to possess any ammunition especially if they have been shipped across state lines or purchased from abroad. Duclos could also serve a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for possessing a firearm as well as being involved in drug trafficking crime.

Priors Could Seal Duclos’ Case

In a press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney John H. Durham spoke about Duclos’ case, saying that the indictments were in no way proving the defendant’s guilt and that Duclos would remain innocent until convicted by the court.

Duclos is, however, no stranger to the justice system. He already has two priors, one from 2001 when he was arrested and charged with drug trafficking, and the other coming only last year in March when the 39-year-old was charged with larceny in the third degree.

Couple Busted for Drug Dealing Using Dream Market

Dealer selling cocaine,ecstasy or other illegal drugs
A couple in New Hampshire has been arrested on suspicion of selling heroin and MDMA on Dream Market under the screen name 5th Avenue.

A raid at a local hotel in Merrimack, New Hampshire led to the arrest of a couple suspected to be selling drugs on the dark web marketplace Dream Market.

Brian Knight and his girlfriend Tina Kearns were the targets of a year-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency as it tried to uncover an online drug distribution conspiracy, according to court documents from the U.S. District Court in Concord.

The couple operated from their hotel room on Executive Park Drive, which the DEA raided on August 27 to find drugs including heroin, measuring equipment and packaging material in addition to some other drug-related paraphernalia.

Special agent Austin Love from the DEA wrote about the investigation, saying that the couple sold both heroin and MDMA on the Dream Market Bazaar, a popular online marketplace where vendors anonymously peddle drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, LSD, heroin and cocaine.

Usually, these vendors risk exposure when shipping their merchandise via the postal service.

As Love explained, the dark web can only be accessed using specific software and configurations, and this is primarily because many of its users prefer to stay anonymous.

The layered encryption system provided by the likes of Tor facilitates this.

Investigators stumbled upon the couple’s online nickname, 5th Avenue, during investigations that had begun in January.

Shortly afterward, they made a purchase from 5th Avenue—an unspecified amount of heroin for which they paid for in Bitcoin—which was delivered through the U.S. Postal Service.

The tracking number attached to the package was the cookie crumb the federal agents needed to track down 5th Avenue, and this is what gradually led to Knight’s arrest.

Through the tracking number, agents were able to find the debit card that was used to pay for the package’s shipping.

Coincidentally, this was the same debit card Knight used to pay for the hotel room where he and his girlfriend operated from.

Rolls of money, Us dollars and prescription drugs on dark surface.
A raid at a local hotel in Merrimack, New Hampshire led to the arrest of a couple suspected to be selling drugs on the dark web marketplace Dream Market.

Merrimack police had earlier received a tip from an unspecified source that Knight was spreading information about his online drug dealing business, telling people about the wares he peddled online and how he fulfilled his orders via the postal system.

As mentioned earlier, darknet vendors risk exposure when using the postal service to fulfill deliveries.

Knight was no different, and although he was a bit more careless than usual—he used the same debit card to pay for shipping his merchandise and the hotel room he operated from—many vendors have been nabbed through the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

No matter how many layers of encryption protects their identities online, they always fall short when it comes to deploying the same operation security in the real world.

Knight was arrested barely a month after a sealed warrant for a federal Florida court and slapped with charges of participating in a conspiracy to distribute banned substances.

The case was unsealed last Thursday in a Concord court, and Knight was transferred to law enforcement authorities in Florida.

As for Kearns, his girlfriend and partner-in-crime, she remains held in custody awaiting trial.

Dream Market Has Banned the Sale of Fentanyl

Dream Market has recently ban the sale of fentanyl, a move likely to put some opioid sellers out of business.

Major darknet marketplace, Dream Market, has recently ban the sale of fentanyl. The message was posted in the market forum by one of the moderators known as “Gowron.”

Even though they posted this message at the end of the first week of May, it did not come into effect for another two weeks since the memo stated that as of May 20, no vendor would be allowed to sell the type of drug.

Gowron’s message is categorically clear that all vendors should remove all listings of the said drug and if any member of the site comes across any listing that sells the opioid, they should report it with immediate effect.

Below is a screenshot of the message from Gowron on the Dream Market forum.

Is the Ban of Fentanyl the Ultimate Solution?

The matter can be looked at from a broader perspective, but the real question is whether it will reduce the menace brought about by the drug due to fatal overdoses.

There are other marketplaces in existence which have not yet initiated the ban of the fentanyl and as such, Dream users are likely to migrate to other darknet markets.

So, therefore, people will still have other options, and from the writers’ perspective, this is not the ultimate solution because it has a very minimal effect.

The other thing is that the market vendors and buyers still have the option of using anonymous messaging platforms which have gained significant popularity and preference over the years. For the case of Dream Market, it is not any different.

A look at the marketplace reveals that several sellers have left their contact details on their vendor profiles, making it easy for buyers to contact them without necessarily logging in to their Dream Market account.

Therefore, the drug vendors will remove the drug listings from their profile and further urge those who wish to purchase fentanyl to order it directly by use of messaging apps.

The end effect, though trivial, is that Dream Market will end up losing a certain proportion of the revenue they earn from commission generated after a sale.

Given that drugs are among the most profitable businesses in the dark web, then it is evident that there will be an effect.

Dream Market Vendors and Operators Under Watch

It is evident that Dream is the biggest market in the darknet community. Because of this reason, the authorities are at the moment trying as much as they can to bring down the site by whatever means possible.

Before Dream gained its position as the top market, there was AlphaBay, which was seized alongside Hansa Market in a joint operation by law enforcement agencies in different parts of the world.

The operation that brought down the two mega-markets is regarded as the most successful in the history of darknet markets.

But even after a major darknet crackdown, more people get involved in darknet markets by simply creating new ones.

What makes it even worse is that the number of law enforcement personnel participating in curbing crime is not growing at a proportionate rate.

And for this reason, the rate of crime-related activities keeps on growing as compared to the people who get arrested and prosecuted.

Some of Those Involved In Dream Market Arrested and Prosecuted

Major darknet marketplace, Dream Market, has recently ban the sale of fentanyl.

Despite this, all hope is not lost as there are several instances where authorities have apprehended people involved in Dream Market’s operations by either buying or selling or operating as an admin.

In one of the cases that got international media attention, a former Dream Market moderator popularly known as OxyMonster, whose real name is Gal Vallerius, just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when he was arrested at the airport while attending a famous beard competition in the U.S.

After months in and out of court, Vallerius pled guilty this month in a move that could see him spend up to 20 years in federal prison.

However, he will not be the first major operator of a top market to end up behind bars. When Silk Road Market was seized by law enforcement in 2013, the founder—William Ross Ulbricht, who went by the name Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR)—was arrested and is now serving a life sentence.

In yet another instance involving a Dream Market vendor, a former postal employee based in Maryland pleaded guilty to drug-related charges last month. The man, known as Cory Skinner, operated a vendor account on Dream going by the name DoggFood. Skinner dealt with heroin, cocaine and synthetic opioids including fentanyl.

Then there’s also a San Diego man known as Sky Justin Gornik, who operated on several markets including Dream Market. Gornik was an established vendor from the days of AlphaBay Market, a sign that he has been in the business for years.

It is ordinarily typical for vendors to set up multiple accounts on different markets in a bid to attract more clientele. In most cases, they use the same username and listings make it clear to all that visit their profile.

The case was evident during the seizure of AlphaBay and Hansa. Since AlphaBay went down first, a spot check on Hansa showed that vendors who previously operated on AlphaBay already had vendor accounts on the market.

For those who never had an account on Hansa and other darknet markets, they rushed to create new profiles in a deliberate bid to continue their business.

The end effect is that there was an influx of registrants that “forced” Hansa to close registration for a period of one week.  All this was a game plan by the security personnel involved in the operation.

It is just a matter of time until it will be known if Dream Market will sail through the wave riddled with hurdles of all sorts.

Dream Market ‘Oxygod’ Busted for Alleged Distribution of Counterfeit Drugs

Dealer selling cocaine,ecstasy or other illegal drugs
The suspects behind Dream Market’s ‘Oxygod’ account have been arrested for dealing fake oxycodone pills on the dark web.

Three suspected drug dealers believed to have been running a lucrative venture on the dark web are finally in custody after months of investigation undertaken by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Earlier this month, 20-year-old Duc Cao of Orange County, 21-year-old Wyatt Pasek of Santa Ana and 22-year-old Isaiah Suarez of New Port Beach were arrested under suspicion of operating a drug business on the very popular darknet market, Dream Market.

Around the same time the Office of the U.S. Attorney for Central District Of California announced the arrest, a criminal complaint was launched against the three suspects, accusing them of selling drugs on Dream Market under the username Oxygod.

The resulting joint operation between the DEA and the Costa Mesa Police Department lasted six months during which they gathered enough evidence to make a strong case against the three.

Suspects Believed to Have Distributed over 100,000 Fake Pills

Prior to the operation, Costa Mesa Police Department had come across a number of blue counterfeit pills with the markings “A 125” stamped on them.

According to a criminal police affidavit, it was later as they tested for fentanyl that the police discovered that the pills contained cyclopropyl fentanyl.

Costa Mesa police quickly narrowed their search for the source of the counterfeit pills to Pasek.

Opioid overdoses have been on the rise and the majority of these drugs come from darknet markets where fentanyl in all forms, including nasal spray, is being peddled to everyone with access to the dark web.

The Takedown & Arrests

Rather than pounce on the 21-year-old suspect immediately, police maintained close surveillance on Pasek and were rewarded with the location of one of the group’s pill labs in Newport Beach and the identities of the two other members.

Similarly, the authorities kept a close watch on Cao and Suarez as soon as they confirmed that the three were working together. This paid off as well.

In early March, a surveillance team picked up on Cao as he dropped off a number of packages at the post office. Police quickly obtained a warrant and managed to arrest several suspects in different states. A combined total of 1,400 counterfeit A 125 pills were recovered in operation. This was a momentous day for the investigators.

On the second day of April, Cao was spotted at Pasek’s house after which he traveled to the Newport Beach pill lab. After leaving the lab, he drove straight to a post office in Santa Ana and deposited 13 packages, similar to the first batch he was seen depositing in March.

Police obtained a court order to open the 13 packages. All of them contained the counterfeit blue A 125 pills and tested positive for fentanyl, according to the affidavit.

The following day, police made their move. They started by raiding Suarez’s apartment where they found not only fake oxycodone but also fake Xanax pills. It should be noted that Oxygod, a Dream Market vendor with a 4.54 rating after over 200 reviews, only dealt in fake oxycodone pills. The raid unearthed pill binders, an unknown sum of cash and over 13,000 fake oxycodone pills.

Mysteries Remain in the Case

Illegal drugs and money
Three suspected drug dealers believed to have been running a lucrative venture on the dark web are finally in custody after months of investigation undertaken by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

All three could be facing sentences of over 20 years each if convicted. However, this doesn’t seem to solve the case completely.

The last login date on Oxygod’s account was observed to be a day after the group was taken into custody. Furthermore, the issue of the fake Xanax pills remains unsolved, as does the mystery of the second research chemical used together with fentanyl to create the fake oxycodone pills.

It is believed that the trio sold an upwards of 100,000 fake oxycodone pills before the police caught up with them.

A Dream Market Forum Has Emerged on the Clearnet

Forum Chat Message Discuss Talk Topic Concept
DeepWeb Network has just launched. It’s a clearnet-based forum that’s modeled to serve Dream Market users.

Forums are avenues to discuss and swap experiences based on prevailing situations. They are necessary for the welfare of any community and this includes users of darknet markets.

So far, there are several popular forums used by darknet users for discussion. Some of the panels are created by the markets; others have been created by third parties whose sole interest is to improve the community. This is the function of Dread, a new dark web-based communication platform.

And recently, a new forum platform dubbed DeepWeb Network has been established to serve Dream Market users. The admins are clear that the site is not affiliated with the market itself.

It was built because Dream Market is currently the top darknet market today, and it is essential for market users to be aware of the happenings in their community.

Most posts are related to Dream Market in some way; others reflect general news concerning the dark web.

DeepWeb Network has attracted the attention of Dream Market admins, to the extent that the marketplace has publicly linked to it.

A message from a market admin named “Team Speedsteppers” encourages members to feel free to navigate to the site if the link to the official Dream Market forum cannot be accessed.

How DeepWeb Network Works

Communication, dialog, conversation on an online forum and internet chatting concept. Business man or social media consultant holding speech bubbles in futuristic modern abstract space.
Forums are avenues to discuss and swap experiences based on prevailing situations.

For those intending to use the forum, they can do so without having to register as a member. However, for exclusive access and to get alerts based on an individual’s preferences, a sign-up is required.

DeepWeb Network has several categories which can also be referred as sub-forums. Among them are announcements, general discussion, news and happenings, plus tutorials and guides. Depending on an individual’s interests, they can browse through the categories for useful discussions.

It’s worth noting that users should take into consideration specific factors before opening an account and among them is the username. When dealing with goods that can be illegal or legal on darknet sites, it is always advisable to use a pseudonym that does not resemble the user’s actual name.

DeepWeb Network Rules

For any given platform, there must be some guiding principles that govern how persons use a specific site, and this is same with DeepWeb Network.

Among the most common rules for those seeking to use the forum is that they should avoid publicizing too much personal details, no seeking direct clients, they should do adequate research, no blackmailing and doxxing, and last but not least, no selling accounts.

Dream Market Integrates Monero Payments

monero cryptocurrency hologram coin
Dream Market, the most popular dark web market right now, is integrating Monero into the site’s payment system.

The need for privacy and anonymity on the dark web became more apparent last year when a few of the largest darknet marketplaces were shut down by law enforcement authorities.

Now, the remaining platforms are in a race to make their existing systems even more robust to avoid a repeat scenario.

Dream Market, the biggest dark web market that is currently in operation, has begun to consolidate its users’ privacy and anonymity by integrating with the altcoin Monero (XMR).

Already, Dream Market users have begun receiving notifications asking them whether they would like to use the privacy-centric altcoin in their future transactions.

XMR Integration Done Under Wraps

Before Dream Market unveiled the new payment option, which is now officially functional on the site, the admins had been steadily working behind the scenes to ensure that integration took no more than a few days.

It is quite the norm for dark web marketplaces to make these changes under wraps before attracting any publicity to it.

Despite that, competitors step up rather quickly every time a market goes offline, showing that the cutthroat environment of this unmitigated part of the web still exists.

Dream Market has found itself at the apex of the dark web. Although this means that millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin will soon pass through the marketplace, it also means that Dream Market’s admins have a massive target on their backs.

The addition of the privacy-focused Monero on Dream Market is therefore very timely because it gives them a much-needed layer of extra privacy and anonymity.

On Dream Market, the Monero payment option is offered alongside two other options—Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Dream Market first added support for Bitcoin Cash late last year.

XMR’s Rise in Popularity

Monero is currently the 13th most popular altcoin and is valued at around $240 USD. Thus far, it is the only altcoin that is truly untraceable.

Its popularity gained a boost last year after the now-defunct AlphaBay successfully integrated with XMR to give users a more anonymous way to pay for their goods.

Several vendors approved of this change and encouraged other markets to follow suit if they truly valued the privacy of their users.

For a period, Bitcoin Cash became a popular payment option on dark web markets with its only advantage over Bitcoin being lower transaction fees and quicker payment confirmations.

However, on the score of privacy, it was just as ineffective as Bitcoin, making it the proverbial band-aid over a gunshot wound.

Bitcoin No Longer the Best Option

Bitcoin gold coin and defocused chart background
Many are now considering other cryptocurrencies as replacement for bitcoin

Bitcoin has, for a long time, been a source of discontent for the thousands of dark web users who feel like it has not grown into the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that all had hoped it would.

High transaction fees and long payment confirmation periods put a lot of people off from using the digital currency, and although Bitcoin Cash addressed the problem of high costs and long waiting periods, it did nothing about the lack of privacy and anonymity.

Currently, Monero is the only emerging altcoin that implements privacy and anonymity at the protocol level.

Several of its altcoin competitors claim to have the better privacy or to be more anonymous, but in reality, only Monero can hide both the sender and recipient’s identities plus the amount transacted.

So why has it been constantly overlooked and relegated to play second fiddle to the evidently insufficient Bitcoin?

For simple reasons. XMR hasn’t been made convenient to use for novices as of yet.

Since it is quite possibly the most powerful altcoin, especially in terms of being the only altcoin with functional privacy and anonymity features, it remains rather unwieldly for most inexperienced cryptocurrency users.

Bitcoin went down a similar path during its nascent years, so there is no doubt that Monero will eventually become as popular as Bitcoin. In fact, XMR is the only altcoin that offers transparency as an option, meaning that it is private and anonymous by default.

This can surely propel it into even greater heights of popularity than Bitcoin has reached.

Several Marketplaces Integrating Monero

Already, several darknet marketplaces have started to pay attention to the altcoin. Dream Market has officially completed integration, now offering its users three payment options.

Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash will undoubtedly come second to the much more robust privacy coin, which will provide many Dream Market users with true anonymity.

Several Reddit posts have shown that a large number of Dream Market users are clamoring for XMR to be added onto all trading platforms to boost their privacy in light of last summer’s AlphaBay takedown.