A PGP-signed message by a high-level admin at AlphaBay posted on Reddit is warning users of the market to steer clear from it until problems stemming from the absence of its creator, DeSnake, have been resolved. In a rather lengthy warning posted on Monday, Feb. 13, AlphaBay admin The Cypriot provided redditors with some insight into how the market usually functions, why certain users can not login, and perhaps most importantly, why they felt nobody should be using it for the time being.
“Do not use the market,” wrote The Cypriot in his Reddit post. “Easy to say since you can not use the market even if you want to.” The admin went on to explain the differences between two canaries maintained by DeSnake, noting how DeSnake’s apparent failure to update the second canary led to the prevention of the market’s ability to read and process PGP-signed messages. The Cypriot also gave their rationale as to why they did not think the resulting problems were the action of law enforcement:
“In my experience over the years this is not LE. Feel free to discuss, many of you will but the signs just are not there. If it is it would be the worst planned and executed LE action in the history of the markets. They didn’t even put up a fancy seizure screen… Doesn’t mean that it wasn’t.” – The Cypriot on Reddit
According to additional information provided in The Cypriot’s post, DeSnake had last logged in to AlphaBay on Jan. 25th, which was three weeks ago. Problems for market users started in early February as users with 2-FA enabled (which includes all vendors) found themselves unable to log into the market. The admin also mentioned they thought an exit scam was unlikely although couldn’t be ruled out entirely.
A newly-posted warning on darkfail suggested the problems faced by users were indeed beyond their imaginations, which read, “ALERT: AlphaBay’s admin disappeared, the site is potentially exit scamming.” The sentiment was echoed on tortaxi, with a message posted in red toward the top of the site which read “PSA: Senior Admin of AlphaBay Advises Users Not to Use the Market!”, linking to a news article containing the Reddit message from The Cypriot.
AlphaBay was inaccessible via Tor or I2P as of Weds, Feb 15.
Although an ongoing DDOS attack on the I2P network was already making it difficult to access sites there, it appeared that the AlphaBay I2P site was down as of Wednesday morning, rendering the market near completely unreachable. I2P’s current woes are due to a single attacker who has managed to gain control of 80% of the tiny network’s nodes, appearing to use them for the purpose of blocking access rather than deanonymizing its users.
I2P users are being asked to upgrade to the network’s most recent version, 2.1.0, which has blacklisted some of the attacker’s nodes, but it was still inaccessible for most users. Even if AlphaBay is reachable on I2P, the lockdown of 2-FA functionality means that vendors are unable to log into the market and accept new orders placed by buyers who do not have 2-FA enabled.