A persistent DDOS attack on the Dread forum which ramped up to crippling levels on Sept. 13th is having an overall effect on the Tor network, claims Paris, admin of the Dread darknet forum. Per statistics maintained by The Tor Project, the network has been visibly slowed in several key metrics since the DDOS attack against Dread surged.
Since Sept. 13, the time it takes to download a 50 KiB (kibibyte, 1 KiB = 1024 bytes) over Tor has increased roughly 50% and the number of timeouts has increased between 100%-200%. Also negatively affected are round-trip latencies of circuits, which are used to download static files over Tor, from either public servers or onion servers.
“It’s interesting to see the change on the Tor network when the attack on Dread started,” wrote Paris in an update about the forum’s ongoing DDOS situation.
“It won’t get much better until the attack stops or POW happens. We need about 800 more GUARD nodes on the Tor network so if just a portion of the people in the community can just open up one guard node we will have more than plenty… It’s a battle and the Tor network is the limit.” – Paris, Dread admin
Graph showing a recent, visible increase in timeouts of requests to public servers. Source: The Tor Project
In his update, Paris also made the claim that “It just got 10X times harder to take down an existing connection to Dread,” signifying the tweaks to the forum he had mentioned earlier were now fully in place and live. While the main Dread URL remains unreachable, the forum can still be accessed using one of the emergency URLs Paris provided in a PGP-signed message.
The total number of Tor nodes is currently 9,844 per stats tracked by dan.me.uk. According to a recent analysis by EarthWeb, approximately two million people use Tor on a daily basis to visit one or more of its 65,000 unique URLs. This represents about 3% of total Tor traffic, and the biggest share of this traffic comes from Tor users in Russia. Of the 200 domains marked as “illegal” on Tor, over 75% of them are darknet markets.