Is Dream Market Going Exit Scam?

login scamThere are reports by users that Dream Market is probably pulling an exit scam, some have complained that they are facing difficulties with login in, despite other similar marketplaces on the Tor network working quite well.

A trader raised concern that Dream Market suddenly disabled their 2FA login details in spite of selling more than 250 products, with an overall star rating of 5.

They cannot access the account anymore, and have loads of fresh orders to handle including those that had already been accepted before and only awaiting shipment.

However, what worries the dealer, even more, is that they wrote four contact forms to Dream Market but got absolutely no response from them.

The trader and his team went further to seek for help from DM’s forum page but still got nothing.

Things got worse from there after the admin unexpectedly removed their forum account, probably because they were asking too many questions about the market’s activities.

This vendor didn’t give up despite all the setbacks; he logged back in using different buyer accounts and to his surprise, the original vendor account was still functional.

These outcomes have made the traders believe that Dream Market is trying to scam them, plus very soon the site may pull an exit scam on users.

Another account holder reiterated that he had been trying to get back online for a while, but Dream Market was not operational during that entire time.

Earlier on, clicking on messages or marketplace posts also proved futile since this took him to a blank page, where he was left with no other option but restarting the Tor browser again, hence, leading him to the same errors once more.

Initially, he thought this problem was only tied to Tor, but as it turns out, that is not the case since other darknet marketplaces have not been affected at all.

Scam onlineNevertheless, other users urged them not to generalize the situation by claiming that Dream Market is trying an exit scam.

Instead, saying they need to get the facts right before making such statements.

A user has asked for proof and requested for pictures of messages from admin saying that they were not going to let him in.

Otherwise, everything else can only be regarded as hearsay.

Given these facts, it’s probable that the complainant’s account got hacked by somebody else, likely an individual working closely with them.

In his defense, the victim said that even after signing to prove who they really were as traders, things still did not work out.

He confirmed they only use 2FA logins on Tor marketplaces and are not used to giving “plausible excuses,” such as the online account had been taken over by somebody they work with, or other similar incidents.

The trader claims the only reason they raised alarm over this occurrence is so that their customers can know what’s going on, and reach out to them for further direction.

Dream Market: Problem Loading Page

reddit_log-100011890-large (2)A Reddit user recently reported a login problem on Dream Market, despite having never experienced such problems before on the site. He was apparently unable to access the URL normally even after clicking on it. While it seemed like a genuine concern, some subscribers commented on his post that they were still able to access the site without any problems. They did this by using an alternative onion download link provided by Dream Market itself.

Using one of the listed mirrors on top of the screen also worked for some people, though not all as some individuals came to realize later when trying to access Dream Market this way. They claimed to have experienced problems connecting, plus even side link mirrors were not working. Something that left them perplexed as to what was really happening. In spite of all this, there are still those who could sign up using a referral link provided by one of the users.

But things were not all that perfect for everyone, with some complaining their coins had been removed from the blockchain,gone together with their money. This is a common occurrence in most phishing attempts, though not quite as common in Dream Market compared to other darknet sites.

However, this problem is not entirely new since approximately a month ago another user complained of exactly the same thing. According to him, the site was working just fine the previous day only for it to go down when he tried logging back a few hours later. Dream Market has been going down temporarily and coming back on just as unexpectedly, something that’s yet to be explained by admin. Dream Market is experiencing the same problems as Agora which also went down briefly a short while ago. It’s possible that these connectivity issues are caused by increased load coming from Nucleus refugees seeking a new place to do business.

Tor (1)In order to access the market, you’ll require a Tor browser which helps in hiding IP address from other internet users. Like most other darknet sites, Dream Market also operates on the .onion domain which is only accessible through Tor network. Nevertheless, take note that cops and other law enforcement agencies are nowadays monitoring those who are downloading and using Tor. Building a database that can potentially be used to make prosecutions. Hence, before visiting any Tor site or downloading the browser, you should always turn on your VPN. This will protect you from getting onto the radar list of feds.

Additionally, get a Dream Market PGP key which shall be used to communicate with your dealer. The code encrypts messages so that your actual address is not openly revealed, otherwise other people may see chat history details and trace back to the original owner. By not using PGP, one can easily land into trouble even when buying legal items from the darkweb. Dream Market bitcoins can be purchased in a variety of ways, such as buying locally from someone you know or off the web using online money platforms.

Tor and I2P – What’s The Difference?

I2P and Tor are both anonymizing networks, enabling people to tunnel out of their non-secure and open environments. Nonetheless, they achieve this in somewhat different ways. This article explains the benefits of each, breaking down their similarities, pitfalls, and things you must know to be safe.

Tor

tor
Tor has been around for quite some time now than I2P. As such, Tor has much more been studied in depth by both the black hat and white hat communities. It was much better designed to serve as an out-proxy compared to I2P. This is due to the fact that Tor comes with numerous exit nodes than those on I2P. Moreover, Tor has the ability to use bridges and TLS, and performs highly better when it comes to evading state-level firewalls.

The Tor network has the advantages in that it’s able to hold a huge number of talented developers, some of whom are even funded. As a matter of fact, the network receives a superb amount of money for its development and maintenance, and this shows in the form of its white papers and excellent documentation. Tor uses a simple SOCKS proxy; therefore, your only choice is to be an exit, client node, or relay node.

On that note, as opposed to Java on I2P, Tor is written in C. This means that a Tor client typically runs with a smaller memory footprint and much faster. The network also uses the directory-based technique, offering a centralized focal point to manage the overall network “view,” as well as report and gather statistics, contrasted with the distributed network model on I2P. This centralization can efficiently handle Sybil attacks and reduce complexity at each level.

I2P

The I2P network was excellently designed by developers who had the internal network in their minds. Measures have been taken to create a better environment for hosting services rather than providing out-proxies. Indeed, this is the fundamental difference between Tor and the I2P network.

i2p

I2P was optimized and designed for hidden services, which are very faster than in Tor, because the network is self-organizing and fully distributed. To help with this, peers are chosen by continuously ranking and profiling performance, as opposed to trusting claimed capacity.

I2P is packet-switched, instead of circuit-switched, like Tor network. This means there is a transparent load-balancing of messages across multiple paths, rather than a single one. Essentially, all peers take part in routing for other. Unlike Tor’s SOCKS created for functionality, I2P’s API was designed for anonymity.

Tor seems to have an upper edge over I2P as far as offering better security is concerned because of its SOCKS proxy. However, it’s important to have in mind that most individuals won’t have a threat model where security would be of great concern because attacks tend to be very complex.

Finally, I2P tunnels are short-lived, reducing the number of samples that attackers can use in order to mount a serious attack with, unlike Tor’s circuits, which are typically long-lived.

Tor Vs. I2P: Which Is Better?

That is a very open-ended question and falls to technical choice at times. An example being peer-to-peer file sharing over I2P, in which case Tor doesn’t support nor encourage it. Other times it will depend on individual choices. You’ll find the content on the I2P and Tor networks to vary. However, this is not to say mean that you shouldn’t host services on the Tor network, or shouldn’t out-proxy with I2P. The networks are designed and developed with various strengths in mind.

i2p vs tor anonymous networks
Generally, if you are searching for an efficient out-proxy, Tor is an excellent choice. The network still has more to offer, granted that several exit nodes have already been blacklisted in order to prevent abuse.

If you are looking for a great onion routing network, then I2P would be an ideal choice, since you are afforded higher speeds and added protection to go along with it.

Rise And Fall Of Darknet Markets

Three years and a similar number of months after the FBI seized the Silk Road, the darknet markets’ equivalent of Amazon, and other new entities are coming up and even booming in the very same niche. You may be wondering how this is possible considering that law enforcement agencies have improved scrutiny to stem the growth of such sites.

Silk Road and other versions of its incarnation as well as Agora, Evolution and Abraxas have risen to dominate the dark web before falling only to find replacement in other, probably better-coded websites. The story behind their rise, and eventual fall, vary though and this is probably the reason even their lifespans vary.

The Silk Road

To everyone who knew him, Ross Ulbricht was an ideal kid. University of Texas even accepted him on a full scholarship. He did not pass for a person who would orchestrate and run a US$1.2 billion illicit drugs marketplace; yet he did!

While in college, Ross developed a strong disinclination for government inference. He started growing a strain of hallucinogenic fungi, which he hoped to peddle using the ever-extending distribution channels of darknet market. While his mushrooms were growing, he decided to try a hand in computer programing. He roped in his pal, Richard Bates, who was already a programmer with eBay.

Silkroad Ross Ulbricht
Using Bate’s assistance, Ulbricht was able to code successfully, the script for Silk Road including hiding it on Tor browser to evade banking and government oversight and intrusion. The website went live in February 2011 and within a few short months, had thousands of enlisted vendors and buyers.
Silk Road’s ranking system, that graded vendors based on feedback, made it a favorite with many customers. This steady traffic, flawless distribution aided by encrypted communication and the website’s 10 to 12% commission soon made Ulbricht rich. The website managed a whopping 1.2 million transactions during its lifespan with total revenue amounting to about 9.5 million bitcoins.

The fall of Silk Road started almost immediately it went live. Senator Charles Schumer made requests to have Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Justice shut it down. After this request, all communication to and from the website came under scrutiny and in October 2013, the FBI seized the website arresting and charging Ulbricht with computer hacking, money laundering and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Evolution

Following the demise of Silk Road, many online entities rose to fill the gap left. One of these entities, Evolution, also called Evo by darknet markets customers came alive in January 2014. The site’s creator, Verto, also founded Tor Carding Forum, an identity theft and stolen cards forum on Tor.

Evolution’s rapid growth came about because it went alive at a time when law enforcement agencies were seizing its competitors. The weird blend of both cyber security as well as lax rules on the use of stolen cards also propelled Evo to the top of darknet markets. Despite this laxity, it still disallowed prostitution, child pornography, murder, terrorism and assassination related services and Ponzi schemes.

darknet markets
Unlike other darknet markets, Evolution shut down in March 2015, apparently due to exit fraud by the administrators in order to steal users’ cash in their escrow accounts.

Agora and Abraxas

Agora went live in 2013 and soon became a major darknet markets destination. Following the closure of Evolution in an apparent exit fraud, Agora became the leading darknet website. Unlike many of its counterparts, it did not suffer the wrath of Operation Onymous, the international law enforcement agencies’ operation that targeted hidden services and darknet markets hosted on the Tor network. The website’s administrators took it down in what they termed as protection from potential attacks meant to de-anonymize server locations.

Soon after Agora went down, Abraxas emerged and claimed the darknet markets’ top place. Like others before it, it also went down in what is possibly an exit fraud.

Thriving Darknet Markets

The legion of online users averse to government inference keeps growing each day. This breed of consumers helps spur the growth of darknet markets. Since the emergence of the Silk Road, a shutdown of a darknet market usually precedes an emergence of a replacement. Soon after Agora and Abraxas’ demise from the scene, new darknet markets have risen to fill whatever gap existed.

AlphaBay and Dream Market now occupy the pinnacle of darknet markets. Though they operate in the same Tor network that hosted the other dark net websites, they are perfecting the art and science of concealing their tracks. Their survival in this rather unstable niche is however, only a matter of time.

The Deep Web, Dark Web, And The Darknet Marketplaces

There’s been a lot of confusion in the media about two similar terms – Dark Web and Deep Web. What journalists usually refer to as the Deep Web is basically the opposite of it, the Dark Web and vice versa. Dark Web usually has a negative connotation due to a number of Darknet Markets that occupy a significant part of the Internet.

Deep Web
Deep Web
But, before we dive into semantic of the terms in question, namely Deep Web, Dark Web, and Darknet Markets, allow us to bring in yet another one – Surface Web (believe it or not, we’re introducing this new term to try and unscramble all the others).

Surface Web represents everything that can be indexed and accessed by standard search engines, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Because the data are so readily accessible, this layer is considered to be the surface of a huge ocean of information, ocean we like to call – the Internet.

On the other hand, beneath that surface, there is a vast ocean of non-indexed data – hence the term Deep Web. So, a very simplified view is that Deep Web represents everything that cannot be indexed by search engines.

Namely, in order to index pages and websites, search engines only use links. Everything beyond that is considered Deep Web. However, certain parts of websites can be accessed only by using search boxes which is the case with universities’ and government’s websites and these are also in the Deep Web realm!

The term was coined by Mike Bergman, a computer scientist, back in 2000 and has been used ever since.

Dark Web

Finally, the most notorious of the terms, Dark Web. According to Brightplanet, Dark Web is considered just a small part of Deep Web. It’s been deliberately hidden and can be accessed only by using special web browsers, such as Tor browser. It is the place where all the nasty takes place, booooo!

As mentioned so many times, a way to access Dark Web is through Tor Network, which has its own, specialized browser simply called Tor Browser. Tor renders its users, both website owners and visitors, with high degree of anonymity; their IP addresses are hidden and encrypted inside a multilayer router network and it is almost impossible to track anyone down by using the conventional methods.

However, not all Darknet Markets are located on Tor Network; for example, Silk Road Reloaded uses I2P, an alternative to Tor network. I2P stands for the Invisible Internet Project, and the cryptocurrencies that support I2P at the moment are, surprisingly not bitcoin, but Anoncoin and Monero.

Despite its notorious reputation, Dark Web offers a number of good things to its users. Lots of bloggers and journalists, for example, use it for communication with whistleblowers and trusted sources who often come from the countries with very limited freedom of speech.

Darknet Markets

Emerging of the Dark Web has opened possibilities for new, internet-based businesses. And as it often happens, people will always find a way to misuse something good; the Dark Web is not an exception to the rule. It’s full of illegal markets, where you can buy drugs, weapons, child pornography, counterfeit IDs and all sorts of illegal services like hacking, and even order a murder.

Goods and services on the Darknet Markets can be purchased with bitcoins, which is the first and the most widely used cryptocurrency. The same way you can’t be traced while browsing the Dark Web, you also cannot be traced while making transactions using bitcoins. The only trouble with bitcoin is its instable exchange rate – one day it can be worth more than $1,000, and the other its value can dramatically drop to $200. Currently, one bitcoin is valued nearly $400.

History of Darknet Markets

The Deep WebThe first and the most celebrated market was definitely Silk Road. It was founded by a 31-year-old libertarian, Ross Ulbricht. Launched in January 2011, its development had begun six months earlier. The idea behind the Silk Road project was allegedly to clean up the streets from crime by transferring drug dealers from dark alleys to Darknet Markets, thus creating a safer environment for vendors and users. This obviously sounded like a great and well-intended idea in Ulbricht’s mind and perhaps he really believed he was doing something for the good of the world; however, the judge who ultimately sentenced him to 2 life sentences didn’t seem to share his enthusiasm.

Ulbricht was arrested in October 2013 by the FBI who caught him red-handed while he was logged in on Silk Road admin page. It is estimated that the total revenue generated from the sales on the Silk Road was around 9,519,664 bitcoins (roughly $3.6 billion at the current bitcoin exchange rate). Ross Ulbricht, the pioneer of the Darknet Markets, is considered the most responsible for making Deep Web and Dark Web subjects of the mainstream media.

After the fall of Silk Road, many new Darknet Markets tried to find their place under the sun; Silk Road 2.0 among others. It looked more or less the same as its older brother and even employed the original staff members of the previous Silk Road. However, Silk Road 2.0, together with 26 other Darknet Markets, was seized by the Law Enforcements in the Operation Onymous in 2014.

As expected and despite this massive arrest operation, new Darknet Markets continue to emerge. Some of today’s best known Darknet Markets are definitely AlphaBay and Dream Market (Darknet Markets Agora and Abraxas being out of the game). Agora was one of the most respected Darknet Markets, but they retreated allegedly due to some security glitches in the Tor Network. AlphaBay has recently announced that they have the largest community on the Dark Web, while Dream Market being founded in 2013 is considered the oldest existing market on the Dark Web. Many Darknet Markets have performed exit scams taking for themselves the bitcoins trapped in escrows, while others continue to work diligently on securing the community’s trust.

All of them still use escrow and review systems developed by Ross Ulbricht; and while some Darknet Markets are successful in that, many have failed – they have been either seized by the FBI or taken down by competition.

What Is Dream Market?

Introduction

To be able to understand what Dream Market is, it’s important to define what the darknet is. The Darknet is a private network (with restricted access) used mainly for illegal peer-to-peer file sharing. Dream Market can be defined as a feature-rich escrow darknet marketplace that can be accessed via the Tor network and the transactions are carried out using the bitcoin currency. The market was established in November 2013 and has so far been proven to be secure and reliable.

DreamMarket-HomeDream Market was created to support free market trade globally regardless of jurisdiction. As a result, the market doesn’t follow any local regulation restrictions. It is therefore possible to find products which aren’t legally available in your country. Nevertheless, it’s completely up to you to decide whether you will order such products or not. The implications of such purchases are completely up to you outside the marketplace although Dream Market takes measures to protect buyers i.e. by allowing bitcoin transactions only to enhance anonymity while preventing fraudulent transactions.

Participation guidelines

Getting an invite

First and foremost, it’s important to note that Dream Market is an invite-only marketplace. You’ll therefore need an invite to become a member.

Identifying trustworthy vendors

In regards to the actual buying process, all members are expected to be honest on all issues from product quality to shipping conditions and package delivery. These guidelines have been set to maintain trust in the marketplace which is the major basis of all hidden web marketplaces. In an effort to keep scammers away, trusted vendors have labels which are a sign of advanced trusted status.

Trusted vendor label bearers have a long history of positive buyer relations and successful transactions. In a nutshell, they have been tested by many and proven to be trustworthy. It is however important to note that there are trustworthy vendors who may lack trusted vendor status. Such vendors are most likely new or they simply haven’t applied for the trusted vendor status.

Using Bitcoins
accepting-bitcoinsAs mentioned above, Dream Market accepts bitcoins and use Tor for anonymity as well as avoiding fraud. Once you send your bitcoins to your unique Dream Market wallet address, your bitcoin deposit will reflect immediately or after a few minutes after which you can go ahead and buy whatever you want. In case you aren’t familiar with bitcoin usage, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the subject before using the Dream Market.

Using Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and Escrow

Although Dream Market takes many measures to protect all members, it’s advisable to use Pretty Good Privacy (PGP); a data encryption/decryption software that offers cryptographic privacy & authentication for data communication. PGP is highly recommended on Dream Market since you may be required to provide personal info such as your postal address. PGP allows you to ensure only the vendor in question can read your personal information i.e. postal address. As a result, your personal info is kept safe from leaking to any organization including Dream Market. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with PGP before using the Dream Market.

Escrow is another safe and universal method of ordering online. When ordering via escrow, the money isn’t transferred directly to the vendor in question after the checkout. Instead, the money is locked. Vendors are paid after customers have received their orders and finalized everything from the shopping cart page. As a result, you also need Escrow to protect yourself from being scammed on Dream Market.

The actual ordering process

Once your bitcoin deposit is confirmed, you can start ordering anything provided your balance is adequate enough to cover the cost. When ordering on Dream Market, the vendor receives the order information immediately. As a result, you don’t need to perform any other action at this point. Vendors must however be online to see new orders.

In case you have any open orders which haven’t been finalized, it’s important to check your message box regularly to see if there are any open questions from the vendor. The actual ordering process ends when you receive your package. You must finalize the order to release the escrow so that your vendor is paid.

You can also rate your vendor and leave adequate feedback when finalizing your order. Although it is important to be as honest as possible when rating vendors and leaving feedback, negative feedback should be given after contacting a vendor and giving him/her the chance to resolve the issue/s.

Listings

Dream Market has a variety of both legal and illegal listings such as recreational drugs like ecstasy, cannabis and prescription medicines. You will also find listings like counterfeit clothing, jewelry and accessories as well as many other legal items like pepper spray, privacy software, etc.

Forbidden Products & Services

Although there are plenty of illegal product and service listings on Dream Market, there are forbidden products and services as well. Such FORBIDDEN products & services include;

a.    Child pornography
b.    Live action snuff or murder or hurt audio, video or images
c.    Poisons
d.    WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) i.e. biological, chemical weapons,         explosives, etc.
e.    Assassination services among any other services which can cause harm to others.

Dispute resolution

In case of any problems i.e. you don’t receive your order, you can open a dispute. It is however advisable to contact the vendor in question and try to resolve the issue. Disputes should be open when you are dealing with an uncooperative vendor. You can open a dispute by clicking the dispute link situated on the order detail page linked in your catalogue view.

All in all, Dream Market is a great market when compared against the other darknet markets on the Deep Web. One big benefit is that it is not the most popular so it won’t be law enforcement’s top priority and the Dream Market admin won’t be looking to pull an exit scam on its users.