After an extensive study of Dark Web marketplaces, security firm SurfWatch Labs revealed today that AlphaBay is the Dark Web’s most popular marketplace.
The market, which appeared towards the end of 2014, has managed to climb to the top of the ranks and stayed alive, despite many of its competitors shutting down, voluntarily or with a “little push” from law enforcement.
One year and a half later, AlphaBay rules the pack
AlphaBay got its first surge of users in March 2015, just a few months after it opened. Back then, the owners of another Dark Web marketplace called Evolution pulled off something called an “exit scam” and ran away with some of the Bitcoin their users deposited in their accounts on the site.
with DeepDotWeb, a site for Dark Web news, AlphaBay’s founder, alpha02, said the portal received over 18,000 new users in just the first three days following Evolution’s demise.
The same thing happened at the end of August, when Agora, another popular Dark Web marketplace,citing user security concerns.
SurfWatch Labs, a company that’s regularly collecting threat intelligence from the Dark Web,that by October 2015, AlphaBay had amassed a huge userbase that comprised 200,000 users, becoming one of the popular Dark Web marketplaces.
The security firm also says that between January and May this year, AlphaBay’s total ads grew from 12,500 fraud-related listings to 20,000.
AlphaBay’s demise may come from its own success
By the time thein late April 2016, AlphaBay had already become the most popular portal on the market.
Even if thealmost a week ago, AlphaBay is set to remain the top dog in terms of Dark Web cyber-crime markets, where users can buy anything from drugs to guns, and from data breach dumps to hacking tools.
While there are many types of services and products you can purchase on AlphaBay, SurfWatch Labs has analyzed cyber-crime-related listings and provided the following chart with the most popular products sold on AlphaBay in the past 30 days. As you can see, the hottest commodity right now is by far stolen user credentials.
But there’s a pattern in all these sites. It seems that every time they reach a massive size, they either implode because of their owners’ greed, or they’re brought down by law enforcement agencies. It remains to be seen what happens to AlphaBay now.