What are Some AlphaBay Alternatives?

For those of you who were regular customers on AlphaBay Market, if everything is as it appears, AlphaBay is indeed gone for good.

So, if you’re curious as to where to turn next, there are some great articles (and other sites) you can look to for alternatives.

DeepDotWeb, which is one of my favorite news outlets for the dark web, featured an article today entitled Alphabay Death: Wondering which market is headed to the top? Here is some insider info!

The author gathered data from the site’s “Dark Net Markets Comparison Chart”, which, in real time, lists the up/down statuses of all the major markets:

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Besides just listing their online statuses, the chart also has the URLs of each market, whether or not they allow open registration, whether or not they allow multisig, and other factors, such as whether or not they have 2FA (two-factor authentication).

DeepDotWeb also predicted, via some analytics, which market may be the next big one – and the answer may surprise you. Based on their table, it appears to be RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace)!

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While RAMP is not an English-language marketplace (and doesn’t have that option), they do have an excellent reputation, and some anti-scam methods in place. Good work, RAMP!!

If you want an alternative site to use as a comparison, I’ve mentioned DNStats in an earlier post. Like DeepDotWeb’s chart, they list the online statuses of the major markets, as well as some vendor shops (independent shops set up by successful vendors) and forums.

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Just bear in mind – any business you do on the dark web carries a risk factor, so protect your identity, and keep yourself informed! Happy tripping.

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What’s the State of AlphaBay Market?

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Update: AlphaBay has definitely exit scammed and is gone for good. Please don’t get your hopes up about it coming back.

If you’re interested in darknet markets and have seen the news lately, you probably know that AlphaBay, which up until now has been one of the most successful markets, is down (and has been since July 4th).

(NOTE: If you’re curious to see some sites you can use in place of it, check DNStats, or its Tor hidden service, http://dnstatstzgfcalax.onion.)

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Numerous media outlets have already covered this story, including the New York Times, The Verge, and Gizmodo. If you haven’t heard about this, here are a few links to catch you up:

AlphaBay, Biggest Online Drug Bazaar, Goes Dark – The New York Times

A Dark Web marketplace is down and users suspect foul play – The Verge

World’s largest online illegal drug marketplace goes dark – Axios

While many of these stories are written by mainstream media outlets and are geared toward the layperson, it’s interesting to think about it from the point-of-view of someone who spends a lot of time on the dark web (or someone who’s bought and/or sold goods on the market, for that matter).

The subreddit /r/DarkNetMarkets, which is your guide to all things darknet market-related, has a bit more inside info, although even those involved with the market aren’t necessarily sure what happened.

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Though he did not give proof, one of the vendors on this subreddit speculated that the market’s downtime might be due to a hardware seizure in Quebec of dark web site owners: Vente dans le «Dark Web»: la police procède à deux perquisitions (As you can see, the article is in French, but you can loosely translate.)

In English, the article says that “…the RCMP’s integrated technology crime group conducted two searches in connection with a global network of illicit drug sales in the Dark Web [sic].” At least that’s the Google translation – no, I don’t speak French.

This points to a couple of possibilities: either the FBI seized one of AlphaBay’s servers (and all the data that would be included, such as hashed passwords, vendor information, private messages, etc.); or that the admins of the site closed it down in anticipation of a raid. Even if it’s the former, I doubt they were able to confiscate everything.

Again, however, just like those in the conversation over on Reddit, I’m just hypothesizing, so don’t take what I’m saying here as gospel. I’m not a member of LE (I swear!), nor do I want to be. Even if the feds did seize evidence from AlphaBay, I hope that it will be up and running again.

If that’s not the case, then I suppose you’ll have to take your business elsewhere.

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye on the developments.

Stay trippy, my friends!

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A Chat With the Directors of The Darkest Alley!

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Those who know me in person probably also know that I’m a big film buff. In fact, I happen to be a fan of dark and disturbing films like The Bunny GameIrreversible, and Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, so it doesn’t seem like that much of a surprise that I would be intrigued by the dark web.

I had been tweeting one of my blog posts related to red rooms (i.e. alleged dark web sites in which someone is tortured to death on a live stream), and a guy by the name of Rohit Kumar (@Raw_Heat420) tweeted back, “I see you are interested in red rooms hahaha.”

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Do you like the red room?

This sparked a brief conversation between us, and in the process, I learned that Kumar and his cousin, Mayank Kaushal, are making a film about the dark web (including red rooms) called The Darkest Alley.

Apparently, the catalyst for making this film was a story (or some would say creepypasta) told by YouTuber Corpse Husband, entitled Horrifying Deep Web Stories: “Why I Quit Hacking”.  I, too, had heard this story, and regardless of whether it’s true or not, I found it to be one of the scariest and most convincing dark web stories on YouTube.  (Actually, in his words, it is true – who am I to say otherwise?) 

It’s told from the point-of-view of a former hacker who ghost hacks into a heavily protected dark web site, and discovers some things that he ends up truly regretting.

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Fast forward: I decided to interview Kumar and Kaushal about their film, as well as their experiences on the dark web. The interview took place over Twitter.  Oddly enough, it turned out we had had many common experiences in the process of exploring the dark web.

Secrets of the Dark: How long have you been into filmmaking? (either of you) In other words, is this a recent thing or have you been doing it for quite some time?

Mayank Kaushal: We’ve always been into making and editing movies for fun for years on YouTube. After a while we began perfecting our craft and slowly we got requests from clients for custom work. Just recently we came to the the conclusion that it was time to see our full potential, exactly what we could accomplish with our skills from over the years.

SotD: I saw on your fundraiser page that you were inspired to make this film by the short story that Corpse Husband told (“Why I Quit Being A Hacker”). Do you think that story is true? Some people say it’s just a creepypasta, is why I ask.

MK: We believe some parts of the story might have been true, but we do think stuff like this happens on the deep web when the user isn’t careful.  This story gave us the idea that there is something about the unknown that is very creepy.  Red rooms being one of those mysterious aspects.  Also, I thought this particular story was magnificently detailed, to the point that I was feeling the same thoughts that the [protagonist] was going through.  That alone got me excited to think what a movie on this would be like.

SotD: I agree!  It was one of the best stories about that subject matter.  In that same vein, are you willing to give a brief summary of what your film is about (without spoiling it, of course)?

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Rohit Kumar: Keep in mind that this movie was inspired by one 20 minute scene which we have adapted into a feature film.  The film [is set] in Houston, Texas, where a college-typical student is struggling to pay his way through college.  He turns to drugs and eventually finds himself on the deep web selling his product.  Everything looks great until he ends up on the wrong site and suddenly his life gets turned upside down.

SotD: Oh, OK – so the film story really is directly influenced by the Corpse Husband story then!  I would still like to see it if I have the chance.

RK: That is correct; we feel like if we leave anything out we aren’t doing the story any justice.

SotD: Gotcha, that makes sense.  Have you already cast all of the actors yet for the film?

MK: We have casted [sic] all of the main actors; we just need to confirm our extras.

SotD: I see, so you’re getting there!  I’ve also been curious about the research you did for the film.  Did you actually visit the deep web/dark web a lot, and did you come across any real red rooms?

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Note: This is not a real red room!

RK: Yes, since this [is] our very first dab at this we are finding out that there is a whole lot of work involved behind the scenes [for] a film of this caliber.

SotD: What kinds of things have you seen on Tor that you’d be willing to talk about?  Or on other parts of the dark web, that is.  (If you’re not comfortable sharing it, then don’t, of course!)

MK: Hold on, this is a long one haha!

SoTD: OK, no problem!! Just trying to clarify.

RK: In order to prepare thoroughly for [the] film and each character we did extensive research in real world scenarios.  I spent around 6-8 months surfing the deep web using Tor until my personal security was compromised due to carelessness.  We studied many documentaries on the production and distribution of narcotics and witnessed real transactions in order to play each part as genuine as possible.

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MK: As for Tor, we were using Skype to screen share some of our sessions, in retrospect a terrible idea, and came across a plethora of underage pornography, many bitcoin scam sites and 2 red room sites.  The red room sites turned out to be fake, but did a good job of showing how one would actually work.  In actuality a red room site [would] not be able to stream in HD the type of content that has been rumored on the clearnet.  It would also be very difficult to find such a website as it would more [than] likely be password protected. We even tried multiple chat rooms for many hours trying to find more information on the subject, but all we found were other curious minds and hackers/trolls.  All in all, the deep web is a great resource; [the] dark side of it is where it has its bad points.  The worst thing we saw were pictures of dismemberment, but we’ve already seen too much so it didn’t really faze us.

SoTD: Hahaha!  I get it – I’ve experienced almost all of the same things.  What experience do you have with special effects that would help you create some of the screen violence?

RK: I am trained with 3D modeling, and visual effects, and…Mayank is a graphics designer.  With these qualities teamed up with practical effects and great cinematography, we will bring this story to life on the big screen.

SoTD: Sounds very exciting!  And you’ve mentioned The Silk Road on Twitter and Instagram…did you visit any real darknet markets in the process?  (Like Alphabay, Silk Road 3, Agora [since closed])?

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AlphaBay Market

 

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Login page for Silk Road 3.0

MK: We used Grams to search particular products and we got return results from the Silk Road, Agora and Pandora.  We also used various directories to lookup [sic] sites, and some of those sites were offering drugs, but those didn’t look as trustworthy as the marketplaces aforementioned.

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The Grams darknet market search engine

SoTD: Trust me, I know what you mean.  Well, how soon do you think we’ll be able to actually see the movie?  You’ve got me anticipating it now!  I didn’t see an official release date…

RK: This…sounds absolutely crazy to me, trying to wrap my mind around [the] fact that this entire [thing] will be shot in under 12 days.  After the shoot, which is in late July, we are hoping to have it edited by February 2017 and will begin early screening in March.  The official release was being debated as a date in May or October 31st.  We ultimately came to the conclusion that the end of May 2017 will be better suited.

SoTD: That’s great to hear!  I really look forward to it.  Those were all the questions I had written for the moment…I’ll make a donation if I get a chance, too.

RK: Those were some great questions man, once again thanks for the opportunity!  Feel free to ask any questions here, as Mayank and I will be monitoring this account in order to build our following :).  Peace and love from the team at #TheDarkestAlley!

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Well, my fellow dark web enthusiasts, I hope you enjoyed the interview.  If the film sounds like something you’d want to see, and you want to help Rohit and Mayank raise some of the remaining funds they need, go to Indiegogo: The Darkest Alley, and make a donation!

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At the time of this writing, they’ve raised $311 of their $1450 goal.  (You get some swag in return for donating, by the way!)

As for me, I hope to see the film soon – best of luck in getting it out there, guys.

 

 

 

Zocalo: for All Your Weed Needs!

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Update: I have no idea if this one is an exit scam or not; I’m going purely based on the layout of the site and some of the feedback I’ve heard.  A few people on Reddit were posting “RemindMe! One year – exit scam” links.  So…we shall see!

No, I’m not talking about the Mexican restaurants in this case – although if you buy some of the stuff above, you may suddenly crave Mexican food!

As a matter of fact, a helpful Google+ user informed me that Zocalo is named after the famous business district on Babylon 5.  How very appropriate!!

Zocalo

As darknet markets go, some carry all sorts of goods, but Zocalo (at the moment) specializes in cannabis and hashish. Here’s the URL, for the curious: Zocalo.  It’s a traditional escrow market, and uses an invite/referral system for membership.  (It’s not that difficult to find a referral, actually.)

Although the listings above include such things as “Beverage,” Clothing,” and “Self-Defense,” the most popular sales are still in the cannabis/hash category.  There’s a listing for paraphernalia (bongs, pipes, etc.) as well, but none seem to be available yet.

Because so many of the listings are empty, I’m going to assume that this market is very new.  Perhaps, as more vendors and buyers join, the listings will vary a little more!

As I’d said in a previous post, I haven’t personally tried the marijuana, so I can’t vouch for the quality of that, but I like the site as a whole.  It’s easy to use, and seems relatively straightforward.

You might say that one disadvantage it has, compared to the larger markets like Alphabay, Dream Market, and Valhalla,  is its selection.  If you’re in the market for 420, that’s definitely a good place.  On the downside, it carries no other drug type items (like, for instance, ecstasy or LSD).

On one of my favorite sites, Deep Dot Web: Zocalo, you’ll find a few reviews from people who were apparently customers of the market:

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I’m particularly amused by the “YOU ARE MY ACCET” review.  As for the one at the bottom, “SCAM MARKET ALL USERS ARE ADMINS!” – well, I’m not an admin (I swear), but the reason that so many of the users are admins may simply be because the site is new. Even if you aren’t planning to visit any of these markets, the reviews can be hilarious, by the way.

Of note: weed isn’t the only good for sale on here, it’s just the most popular (by far).  Zocalo also happens to sell books, including some hacking guides, a few sex advice books, and (not surprisingly) books about weed!

By the way, Zocalo also features a messaging service and a forum, which I have yet to try out, but from the glimpse that I got, they looked to be helpful as well. You have to sign up for the forum separately, but it isn’t all that difficult.

Now, as prices go, I haven’t really had the opportunity to compare their marijuana prices against other markets, but I would imagine they’re relatively similar.  I suppose if you’re genuinely interested in purchasing goods from here, it would make sense to comparison shop, so to speak.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any coupons for the place, otherwise I’d certainly offer:

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Note: This is not a joke.

As the one user on Deepdotweb said above, “This market looks like it has some serious potential.”  And I think it does, too.  At the moment, they merely have a limited selection of goods and vendors.

Well, you know what that means, smokers!  If this is the kind of thing that interests you, head on over there!  (Don’t forget your bitcoin.)

P.S. I may have an update on this later, after I gain a bit more experience.  At first glance, everything looks good.

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AlphaBay Market: on the Clearnet?

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Well, sort of.  There’s a site by the name of AlphaBay Market | News, Reviews and How to Use AlphaBay that gives information about the infamous market, but you can’t actually buy any products from there.

They do, however, offer a direct link to the actual market that you can access, particularly if you’re viewing it from the Tor browser: AlphaBay Market.  (NOTE: just because I’m offering the link does not mean I advocate buying narcotics; do so at your own risk!!)

In a sense, this site has a few things in common with my friends Deep Dot Web and Dark Web News.  They feature current stories related to Tor and other darknets, such as New Tool Checks to Ensure Darknet Sites are Truly Anonymous.

It also has an AlphaBay Coin Tumbler Guide, which gives a basic explanation of how coin tumblers work, and then promotes itself as a superior coin tumbler to others that offer the same service (one advantage it features is a fixed fee of 0.001 BTC; many other services take 3% or more of each transaction).

There’s a site similar to the AlphaBayMarket.com that exists, called Mr. Squirrel’s Guide to the Agora Marketplace; that market, however, has since closed down.  Some of its former vendors have since opened their own independent shops.

Ironically, as I was in the process of researching this post, the clearnet site shut down; were they having server issues, or is someone spying on me?  (Could be either!) (wink)

In any case, the clearnet site more or less explains how to register for the market, how to use it, and also features a few reviews (mostly positive, of course).  You won’t see this kind of bold darknet market promotion for many of the smaller markets, though.

Why is that?  It may be that the smaller markets don’t have the reputation of ones like AlphaBay, and thus they don’t feel as confident parading their names around the clearnet. Again, however, that’s just conjecture on my part.

On my earlier post Exploring Darknet Markets: One Pill Makes You Larger, I listed a number of the most popular markets and explained a little about them.  Per contra, I didn’t go into much detail about specific markets, because to be honest, I lacked experience in that area.

Later on, I did in fact visit one called Apple Market, and wrote an actual review: Darknet Markets: Apple Market.  As far as I know, that one is still one of the higher rated markets that’s still active.  It works similarly to its competitors: it offers Multi-Sig transactions, and sells quite a few different products – drugs, hacked accounts, iPhones, iPads (hence the name).

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Though I have visited some more of the markets since then, I will say this straight up: I have never purchased any of their products (check the bitcoin blockchain if you don’t believe me, fellas!).

Still, I find them intriguing for various reasons; I’m interested in the security protocols involved, and also the processes behind running them.  Also, the “dramas” that take place (exit scams, takedowns, etc.) are fascinating.

At the same time, I’m fully aware that it’s a high-risk business, not unlike selling meth on the street (or, take your pick).  In fact, on the abovementioned AlphaBay Market site, they featured a news story entitled Caliconnect, Darknet Market Vendor Busted in CA.

Apparently, Caliconnect (real name David Ryan Burchard) was one of the more high-profile vendors, who had even operated on the notorious Silk Road!  It seems to me that authorities aren’t going to waste their time busting every darknet market vendor.  However, if someone’s as successful as Mr. Burchard in that regard, they’re going to attract attention, and it’s more likely that the feds will want to make an example out of them.

So, readers – once again, I remind you: feel free to explore these markets, but to (mis)quote the old adage:

 

“If you’re playing with bitcoin, you’re gonna get burned!”

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Exploring Darknet Markets (One Pill Makes You Larger)

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DISCLAIMER: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to condone illegal activity.  Anything you do on the dark web is at your own risk.

As those who regularly keep up with Tor news know, the original Silk Road marketplace was shut down in 2013. Its successor, Silk Road 2.0, was shut down in 2014.

Obviously, this has barely stopped the darknet market business from booming (in fact, it probably helped).  Currently, there is a market going by the name of Silk Road 3.0.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it:

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Be that as it may, I’ve heard from some sources that this site is a scam (basically trying to capitalize on the Silk Road name), while others have said that they’ve had no problems.  It may depend on the individual vendors.

“I Used to Do Drugs…I Still Do, But I Used to, Too!” – Mitch Hedberg

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So, you may wonder, where else can I get reliable recommendations? Well, let me start off by saying that I’m not the requisite expert in darknet markets, but I do my research.

Someone had recently asked me on another site, “Which is the best darknet market?” I’m not sure if I can really answer that question, but I can compare them.

First of all, most darknet markets accept bitcoin, although some accept other cryptocurrencies as well (Dogecoin, Litecoin, Peercoin, etc.).

Second of all, they offer a variety of products (not just drugs) – although some specialize in products such as psychedelics, stolen credit cards, banned books, etc.

Third of all, different customers will inevitably have better or worse experiences than others on various sites (hey, the same thing happens on Amazon, right?)  This is where customer reviews and word-of-mouth come in extra handy, because you don’t always know whom you can trust…

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Shout-Out to Deepdotweb!!

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Hey guys!!  Beyond visiting the markets themselves, one of my most reliable sources for information on darknet markets is DeepDotWeb – Surfacing the News from the Deep Web.  You can also visit them at the above onion URL: DeepDotWeb on Tor.

They feature a Darknet Markets List that’s updated pretty frequently, and generally has very accurate information.  

According to them, some of the top markets are these:

Alphabay

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Valhalla (a.k.a. Silkkitie)

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Outlaw Market

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Dream Market

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Also among their list of trusted markets are:

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Vendor Shops

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Of note: it is sometimes helpful to read the customer reviews on each of these sites, because often the markets may look trustworthy, and they’re the farthest thing from it.

Scams and Phishing Links

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Darknetmarkets o r g / markets also features a list of markets, but this site, according to Beware of Phishing Scams On Clearnet Sites! (darknetmarkets.org) is a list of phishing links that will steal your login credentials for darknet markets. So stay away from that site altogether.

Good ‘Ol Reddit

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Finally, I would further recommend you check out the subreddits /r/DarkNetMarkets and /r/DarkNetMarketsNoobs.  They tend to give reliable, up-to-date information as well.

There are, of course, quite a few other markets and vendors, too!  In my experience, general word-of-mouth is one way you can .  Or you could just try them out yourself and learn the hard way…

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What do you see in the center??

Investigation Underway!!

Of course, I don’t simply want to take everyone else’s word for it – I’m in the process of checking some of these out as well.  That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be trying out the individual products (although that may help with the creativity part)…

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In the meantime, perhaps you can find the answer(s) to the question, “What were they smoking?”