Almost five months after, the largest and most reputable darknet forum, “Dread,” went offline due to a DDoS attack. The Dread admins HugBunt3r and Paris opted to use this as an opportunity to rebuild the website from scratch. Although it took much longer than the pair anticipated, we are excited to see that Dread is back online… For all of five minutes. As a DDoS attack took the forum down again.
- Dread went down due to DDoS attacks back in November 2022;
- They released a statement that they’re recreating the website from scratch and would not rush it.
- Website infrastructure and clusters caused multiple delays.
- Dread admins invited volunteers to test the website. This took place between the end of February and the beginning of March.
- On March 6th, the website went online to the public for the first time in almost five months.
- The infamous Tor hacker took the website down.
Return Of The Dread
Dread has been considered the front page of the darknet, the one reliable place where darknet users can communicate and bring some sort of order in the land without laws. When the .onion link went offline, every darknet user ran around like a headless chicken.
There was a ton of uncertainty and fud from the community after the website remained offline for just over a month. With many speculating that LE managed to take control of the servers and are the ones rebuilding the website. Almost every update HugBunt3r posted to Reddit was met with frustration and uncertainty over the forum.
Darknet Markets like Incognito saw this as an opportunity and launched their own “Libre Forum,” which wasn’t met with much success. Everybody instead held their thumbs in hopes of Dread’s return.
The major complications in building the websites lay in both clusters and general infrastructure of the website. Although the team knew what they were doing and already had an end product to build toward, they weren’t aware how much work it would take to rebuild the website.
In early January, HugBunt3r posted information on where users could donate their funds to keep the cause going. This was met with much backlash, but HugBunt3r explained himself on this issue recently.
“We are broke lol, the ad prices are so cheap for the reach they have. All funds just go into a wallet to scale when DoS attacks occur, we’ve had no revenue to fulfil anything since burning it all on the attacks late last year. Users will however have funds in their balances still, so its going to be a slow process to rebuild any funding.u/Hugbunter on a reddit comment
By the end of February, the team stopped providing regular updates to the public on when the website would be launched as it was only a frustration to the team. Instead, they stuck to updating their Canaries on the shell of the dread forum .onion link.
On February 25th, HugBunt3r finally returned with an update claiming “Private testing is online” along with information on testing.
Right now, we have invited multiple hidden service admins to test and will next be moving onto advertisers and individual subdread Moderators, so they can pre-set their subdread’s with any updates or relevant new posts, clean out any untouched spam from before shut down and so on.
We’re looking to get through this testing quickly. If you fall into any of the mentioned categories, feel free to get in touch with me here or Jabber.u/HugBunt3r
After a week of live testing with a few key members in the community, the website went down one more time as a major flaw was identified. While HugBunt3r didn’t explain what the flaw was, by the end of the day on March 6th, HugBunt3r posted his announcement.
Dread: We are back!
We are back online at the main address:
Welcome back all! We missed you guys.
Word of the relaunch spread yesterday, and while we were about to pull the trigger and hit the launch button, we found a huge issue that held it back an extra day, guess it worked out better anyway.
Feeling so relieved right now; full announcement available over on Dread.u/HugBunt3r
In the Dread post, HugBunt3r explained quite a bit and you can read the full post on Dread, but here’s a quick breakdown
- “There are literally no words to describe the feeling of relief to finally bring my project back to the world for it to serve its purpose once again.”
- Market Admins helped with donations during their downtime. As the pair ran themselves into the ground, burning through all their funds fighting the attacks before the shutdown.
a special thanks to “The Mc” for supporting and believing in them.
- HugBunt3r admitted that “Any significant downtime of Dread and the balance we built is lost, everything becomes like the wild-west and lots of services take the opportunity to exit scam during this time where news travels slow through other obscure services.”
- He reminded that both Kilos and Alphabay Exit Scammed.
- He explained how they made their drastic decision to burn their original cluster and rebuild it from scratch without rushing anything, as a way to ensure a more resiliant infrastructure. “I took this on to improve things, bring down our overheads and hopefully put some ease on the servers”
- They only planned to be down for about a month.
- HugBunter and Paris have both had bouts of serious illness during this time, so that has been another factor.
- Testing brought attention to a few bugs, drawing out an extra week of beta testing.
- Recon will not be returning just yet, it is undergoing its own separate rewrite still which went on the backburner over the last few months. We’ll probably discuss this in an announcement post in /d/Recon some time in the next week or so.
DREADing The Worst: DDoS Attack By Geo
We can’t say for certain how long the website has been up and running, but under three hours after launch, Hugbunt3r posted a comment on his Reddit post saying “DoS’d already, as expected. Need to get everything in place now to ensure everyone can access.”
Along with the attack, HugBunt3r has finally revealed the name of the infamous Tor hacker that’s managed to slow down the entire Tor Network. Meet, Geo.
This hacker caused many headaches for all .onion website owners as he’s DDoSsed the life out of them. He’s even caused the Tor Project team to hire new members with the sole responsibility of anti-DDoS attacking against the network.
With Dread going offline just a few hours after it’s launch, HugBunt3r returned to Reddit calling him out.
“Geo feel free to message me
It’s ok man, you can message me y’know?”
This caused the community to speculate that HugBunt3r was planning to pay the hacker to stop with his tricks, but HugBunt3r quickly put that to rest as he claimed “I would never pay an attacker”
Which makes sense as if he were to give in for this attacker, it opens a door for others. HugBunt3r even claimed that everything was going according to plan. Something we doubt to be true.
Thankfully, the team managed to have the darknet forum back up and running a near day later.
You can now visit Dread at: dreadytofatroptsdj6io7l3xptbet6onoyno2yv7jicoxknyazubrad.onion
Conclusion: Was It Worth The Wait
At this point, Dread’s relaunch has been a successful failure. Despite months of working on the infrastructure of the website, they’re still dealing with the same issues they left with five months back. That being said, HugBunt3r admitted that he had expected this, and hopefully Paris and HugBunt3r will manage to return Dread to it’s old reliable self. Only time will tell.
However, it is great to have the frontpage of the darknet back up, and all the juicy news that will come from it. Maybe we’ll finally get an answer from DeSnake what’s happened to AlphaBay. For now, we will update you as time goes by.
Hey there, I’m a dark web geek who’s been around for the last 8 years. More precisely, I’m livedarknet’s senior content writer who’s been writing about darknet marketplaces, tutorials, and cybersecurity stuff for educational purposes.