Despite several delays and an abundance of rumors of its demise, the Dread darknet markets forum returned on Monday after having been down since late November of last year. With the exception of a new front-page banner, the forum looks almost exactly as it did before, with most significant changes taking place in the backend. The last of a series of updates provided on Reddit suggested it had been undergoing private testing for the last week, which turned out to be true after the site reopened.
Dread founder and co-admin HugBunter posted a lengthy, PGP-signed welcome message as the first order of business, using an ample number of words to explain the problems the relaunch faced, as well as to describe the changes made to the newly-revamped site. He also introduced a new service named Daunt which is designed to act as a failsafe link provision service should Dread or its main Tor URL going down for some reason.
“What a crazy few months it has been. We never realized the true scale that this platform has grew to until now. The longest period of downtime in the history of Dread and it was essentially self-imposed…
I promise you, I read through every single comment wishing us well on Reddit and I only spent time replying to FUD simply because that was the minority where I could put a small amount of time into setting the record straight in response to them..
We are truly blessed to be a big part of the community and hope we can continue with our efforts to provide everything you sorely missed here. Really do appreciate you guys.” – HugBunter on Dread
One noticeable change on Dread includes the AlphaBay subdread being locked to prevent the spread of unfounded rumors. After admin DeSnake failed to log into the market in time to sign a PGP message to prevent it from going into a lockdown mode last month, 2-FA security became disabled, meaning some buyers and all vendors could no longer log into the market. The site went offline altogether shortly thereafter. HugBunter himself stated he believed DeSnake had either “died or exit scammed” although he has yet to elaborate much beyond those words.
As for reasons why the relaunch took far longer than anticipated, HugBunter explained that employing the new server cluster design now used by the site to combat DDOS attacks required a complete rewrite of the “main functionality of the Dread codebase.” He explained both he and co-admin Paris vastly underestimated the time required to perform this task given the complexity and interconnectness of the forum’s extremely customized software. Such problems were compounded by “serious illness,” he said.
HugBunter also mentioned that Recon, the darknet market search engine that has long been a part of Dread, was also undergoing its own rewrite and “will not be returning just yet.”