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The Dark Web’s Biggest Marketplace Is Going on Hiatus

Agora admins say they plan to take the site offline while they work on a potential security issue.
Image: Pepgooner/Shutterstock

Administrators of the biggest current dark web market have announced the site will be temporarily closed, claiming that recent research suggests the server locations of Tor hidden services could be discovered. If true, this could risk revealing sensitive information about the site and its owners.

"Agora to pause operations," the announcement on the marketplace reads, which Motherboard confirmed was signed by Agora's usual PGP key. The administrators say that they "have a solution in the works," but in the meantime, the site will be closing. "This is the best course of action for everyone involved," they write.

It is unclear what research Agora is referring to. However, last month researchers from MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) presented a Tor vulnerability at the Usenix Security Symposium, which they claimed could infer a dark web server's location by analyzing encrypted traffic.

Agora admins also claim to have discovered suspicious activity on their servers, "which led us to believe that some of the attacks described in the research could be going on."

Agora primarily sells drugs and, up until recently, weapons.