Versus Market, a darknet ecommerce website that identifies itself as a “security driven marketplace”, was reportedly hacked and forced into maintenance mode.
According to the platform’s staff, Versus has been shut down as part of a thorough security audit to examine an alleged IP address leak that resulted in lost funds – although the market has encouraged its users to stay calm while gets resolved.
One of Versus Market’s staff members, /u/WilliamGibson, posted on the Dread Forum about the latest events, and provided a clear picture about the site’s current status.
Screenshot of the statement posted by /u/WilliamGibson on Dread.
In highlight, the official statement acknowledged a July 10 cyber-attack that affected Versus Market and saw the theft of a majority of Bitcoin held in escrow. The hacking event prompted the market’s operators to shut down in a bid to understand the extent of damage caused by the threat actor.
Luckily, according to /u/WilliamGibson, the hacker did not succeed to compromise any sensitive data apart from the lost funds. The staffer asserted that Versus Market is committed in the quest to pin point the vulnerability that was exploited by the actor, and that the platform will remain offline until the problem is solved.
In addition, the statement reflected on the expected user qualms over lost funds. Reportedly, Versus Market has assured its users about the existence of a mechanism to compensate for lost crypto – whether it will occur in the form refunds, reduced fees or free ads.
Importance of Multisig Payments
Furthermore, the message posted by /u/WilliamGibson underscored the importance of multisig payments in preventing the occurrence of a similar event in future.
According to his statement, the latest incident has challenged the market to the importance of multisig payments in preventing the theft of funds.
In the darknet ecosystem, multisig payments allow the establishment of 2-of-3 escrow services. In a typical transaction, where a customer intends to submit payment to a designated vendor, the buyer transfers the transaction to a multisignature address – which demands signatures from the buyer, vendor and group admin to release the money.
In times of disagreement, the multisig mechanism provides room for effective conflict resolution. For instance, if a customer demands a refund while the vendor insists that they fulfilled their obligations accordingly, an admin may serve as an intermediary by granting signature to the buyer or vendor – thus enabling either of them to redeem the money.
For the above reasons, the staff member confirmed that the market will enforce multisig payments as soon as it returns online.
Expectedly, a number of users interpreted Versus Market’s predicament as a possible exit scam.
One user, named /u/MonopolyOfficial, acknowledged the sincerity of the market’s staff member but shifted focus to the rather common cases of darknet markets stealing funds through exit scams.
According to the user, the current circumstance is uncertain considering the thin line that exists between darknet platforms stealing funds and claiming cyberattacks. On a different note, /u/MonopolyOfficial, advised the market to use the opportunity and create a turn-around even though such a process may take a great deal of time.
Feedback from /u/MonopolyOfficial.
Another user, /u/lejokerfr, offered their very strong opinion about Versus Market’s possible exit scam and grieved over the platform’s exorbitant fees. (See below)
user feedback from /u/lejokerfr.
Otherwise, a number of users trusted Versus Market’s word and denounced any allegations of a brewing exit scam. One such user, /u/Homecastle, sympathized with the market’s predicament and asserted their feeling of confidence about the site’s integrity amid the troubling circumstances.
User feedback from /u/Homecastle.
In an interesting twist, user /u/m1screant absolved Versus Market by faulting users’ failure to employ multisig payments. The writer acknowledged the market’s honesty and expressed anticipation towards the site’s transformative return to the darknet.
User feedback from /u/m1screant.