Agora Market, which is often considered to be the largest currently operating Bitcoin black market, has decided to pause operations due to a Tor de-anonymizing vulnerability.
On July 28th, MIT and Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) published a paper detailing de-anonymizing attacks on the Tor network. The network, which has been the standard for many deep web black markets since Silk Road, keeps servers and users alike anonymous through a network of systems. Tor project developers are still analyzing proposed defenses.
The black market, protecting itself from attacks which could expose it’s server and user locations, decided to get ahead of the issue by pausing operations at an undisclosed time. Agora explained in a PGP signed message on their hidden site,
“At this point, while we don’t have a solution ready 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.”