In the announcement on Reddit Agora administrators said , ” Recently research had come that shed some light on vulnerabilities in Tor Hidden Services protocol which could help to deanonymize server locations.
Most of the new and previously known methods do require substantial resources to be executed, but the new research shows that the amount of resources could be much lower than expected, and in our case we do believe we have interested parties who possess such resources. We have a solution in the works which will require big changes into our software stack which we believe will mitigate such problems, but unfortunately it will take time to implement.”
They further said that, “We have recently been discovering suspicious activity around our servers which led us to believe that some of the attacks described in the research could be going on and we decided to move servers once again, however this is only a temporary solution. At this point, while we don’t have a solution ready it would be unsafe to keep our users using the service, since they would be in jeopardy. Thus, and to our great sadness we have to take the market offline for a while, until we can develop a better solution. This is the best course of action for everyone involved.”
The other Darknet markets has also made announcements to their users, urging them to not to worry because they had already tackled the Tor vulnerabilities and their servers are pretty secured. A darknet market place Middle East posted an announcement on Reddit that, “”We noticed the strange happenings early on. We KNOW that TOR devs are the best of the best. This is only theoretical paper from MIT students. TOR updates daily on a development level, they would fix any vulnerabilities from any theoretical paper. Emphasis: Theoretical Paper, Not Successful Tests. We have covered all bases.”
The value of bitcoins has came down since Agora has gone offline, and many users are facing issues of delayed payments. These are the payments which Darknet markets usually held in escrow until the deals are completed. Users are slowelys getting the payments back, it will take around 24 to 48 hours.
Many users show their support and appreciation to Agora team on Reddit for taking the decision to go offline. They didn’t risk the security of their servers and users privacy for profits which is something very rare. There is no specific time given by Agora will start its operations again, but there are many other darknet sites which will fill the gap left the Agora. But it looks pretty unlikely to think that they will not return in the darknet market.
Previously FBI has taken down a Darknet Market of similar size named Silkroad back in 2013, the same year Agora entered the Market. These markets deal in all sort of items and services including Drugs, Weapons, Stolen Credit Cards, Hacking passwords services, even electronics (stolen too).