Evolution of Black Markets after operation Onymous

Pierluigi Paganini November 26, 2014

The Digital Citizens Alliance Security provided data related to the growth of dark markets like Evolution after the operation Onymous operated by police.

Recently law enforcement in a joint effort against cybercrime, dubbed operation Onymous, seized dozens of black markets on Tor Networks. While all the the underground marketplaces in the DeepWeb, including Silk Road 2.0, went down due to the operation of authorities, a new one was trying to profit of the situation, its name is Evolution.

evolution black market

According to data provided by by the non-profit Digital Citizens AllianceSecurity, experts noticed a rapid growth of Evolution dark market that has more than tripled the number of the new products offered, including weapons, stolen credit card data and counterfeit documents.

“Evolution is the new hot commodity,” Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) research director Dan Palumbo said. “Clearly they’re benefiting from the Silk Road 2 shutdown.”

According to the data provided by the organization Evolution counts nearly 22,000 products, far more than either Silk Road 2 or the original Silk Road ever offered. Evolution administrator is a known as Verto, it is the person who previously ran the Tor Carding Forum, a website specialized in credit card fraud site.

The news agency Wired published an interesting blog post that includes the figures related the Evolution black market, the marketplace was adding new product listings at a rate of between 80 and 90 a day before Operation Onymous.

The shutdown of other black markets like Silk Road 2, Cloud 9, Hydra and Pandora, caused an increase to 280 product listings a day.

now this will be the sole focus of their business,” says Palumbo.

In late October Agora market place was surpassing Silk Road, it had 18,250 listings meanwhile Silk Road counted for 16,250. Agora had a few dozen products more than Evolution marked and recently Evolution definitely surpassed it.

The analysts consider the fall of Silk Road 2.0 the results of a wicked management, early 2014 the site suffered a theft of nearly $2.7 million of users’ bitcoins stolen from its escrow services, that caused the interruption of the escrow service.

The Evolution market place has solved the problem of the escrow with a feature built into bitcoin known as multi-signature transactions. Basically to prevent scams or seizure of escrow funds by law enforcement two out of three parties sign off on a deal before the escrowed bitcoins can be transferred. The signatures used are of the buyer, seller and of the website itself.

Evolution has also other advantaged respect competitors, like the speed and reliability (Data provided by Dark NetStats – Evolution is online 97 percent of the time, Agora 83 percent and 93.5 percent of Silk Road 2 at last check in September).

Security experts have several doubts on the way Agora and Evolution survived the Operation Onymous, some researchers sustain that the Feds used a new de-anonymization attack against Tor, but it was not possible to target websites hosted in Russia or China.

The situation of instability determined by operations of law enforcement will cause the pop up of new dark markets and the next months and the market places already in place will increase the volume of their affairs.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Evolution black market, cybercrime)

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