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Agora Admin Explains: Why is Agora Always down?

For the first time, Agora market (the most successful market at this time) admins offered a complete explanation about “why the market is down all the time?” – an important read for those who are asking this question every time that the market is down.

Original post on Agora forums can be found here: http://lacbzxobeprssrfx.onion.top/index.php/topic,33275.0.html

Here is the full quote:

Since you have all recently had to tolerate certain problems with the market availability, we want to address some of your concerns. We don’t intend to defend the mediocre availability of the market up to this point, and we still assure you that we are frantically working on making the situation much better, but this is just an explanation about why the problems have appeared in the first place, since many of these questions seem to pop up every now and then.

TL;DR;

Our primary goal is to stay hidden from LE agencies and secure from hackers. We implement much more security measures than many others, which causes problems with availability.

What could go wrong so often? I never see my local electronics webshop being down that much…

Our setup it not simply a regular web server with extra Tor daemon running on it. We had to implement other levels of protection on top of that, including proxy VPN connections, constant changing of servers, additional software which is not found on any normal web server which handles intrusion detection. History has shown that Tor, even though it might be a work of art, has flaws, potential vulnerabilities, and what is worse, open research problems (like traffic confirmation attacks), which is basically another term for known vulnerabilities which could realistically be implemented by a properly motivated attacker. For the level of security that we are aiming at, it is simply not enough to rely just on Tor for providing the anonymity and security.

Moreover, there is little public research about this topic. Try to find guides for setting up a local electronics webshop and you will find thousands. Have you seen a proper guide for setting up an anonymous market with original research into risk assessment etc.? We have for example found numerous problems with Tor software which haven’t been found in any of their docs, and that is still considering the fact that among the anonymity software we use, Tor is one of the best-documented ones.

This does not mean so much that it is impossible to make the market run more stable than we have done up until this point, it just means that we need additional time to make the proper research and setup the system in a way that is also stable. We feel that this is a much better approach than fix the availability first, and then figure out the way to make it secure, because by the time we would do that, it might be too late, and not too late in a way that we get a few users that go to other markets due to bugs, but in a way that we shall find ourselves in jail before that happens…

Why don’t you just buy 100+ extra servers and be done with it?

While achieving simple horizontal scalability for a web service is not an easy task in itself, it is especially difficult when it has to be done securely. Servers need to sync, and that has to be done securely as well. There is too much risk of anybody sniffing any part of the traffic and figuring out what the servers are doing, if it is not done completely securely.
Apart from that, just simply installing a server in a secure way is not a 10-minute thing. The more servers we have, the more setup time we need to spend on them, and if they are too many, we will end up with putting all the time into setting up servers, setting up all the encryption and and anti-hacking gimmicks and not have any time developing the actual market. This is not something that we feel secure with outsourcing either, do you really want some random dude setting up a server which will hold your bitcoins and protect them from the countless threats out there?

Why don’t you just get 100+ more professional developers that could to all this in a week.

We cannot just go to a software company and tell them hey, we need help with this illegal ass darknet market which has millions on it, which facilitates drug trade and money laundering, please help us develop it. Neither can we just give access to our servers or software to random people from the internet who, while claiming to have proper skills, could easily be just looking for easily stolen bitcoins, or worse yet working for LE or having been converted by LE.

Why don’t other markets have as much problems?

First of all you should compare with markets of a similar size. Running a small website securely is much easier than running a market of a size of Agora. Secondly, we don’t have exact information of course, but it seems that others don’t implement nearly as much security measures as we do.

The measures that we do implement, we do so in the best known way to us, and we are no amateurs when it comes to this technology. Keep in mind that we are one of the few markets that haven’t been hacked in any way ever since the very start, and we haven’t lost a single one of your bitcoins. We feel that the level of security that we have been aiming at from the very start is one of the top ones among the contemporary darknet markets.

Isn’t this too much security?

We don’t know exactly how much security is needed. As you can imagine, the world’s top authorities don’t exactly tell us what methods they have of capturing sites like this. Even after big public busts only a limited amount of information is required. We have to gather all the pieces of information from busts, hacking forums, rumors, keep an eye on the recent research and deduct from all that how the current technology might be susceptible to which realistic attack vectors, and based on all this somehow establish an accurate threat model.
So in order to have a chance to stay here for any substantial amount of time we have always be on the safe side and implement as much security as we can.

We just can’t conduct business this way!

Then you should probably not be selling illegal substances.
We are getting paid to provide a very specific service, and as we see it, the main nature of that service is anonymity and security of your money and your information. It is NEVER going to be as stable as a similar legal marketplace. Even when we fix our current issues there are still going to be situations when the market will be offline, where there will be problems, etc. In the exact same way that you can’t insure your street-corner drug enterprise, the main difference being that on the street you have to risk dealing with LE directly, and here you shift most of that risk to us and accept getting hit with some market downtime or bugs caused by our security protocols.

agora-Downtimes1

agora-Downtimes2

From now on we will provide this post as an explanation every time that some one will mail us asking about the market being down.

35 comments

  1. Your site is useless more than 3 months… and your answer is: “Slow and unstable because of supersecurity” LOL…
    This is just a PR trick to prevent migration to other sites.

  2. “We have for example found numerous problems with Tor software which haven’t been found in any of their docs”

    certainly… You have found problems/bugs what hundreds of thousands student/developer/foundation haven’t… Your face is bigger than your knowledge

    • ryan

      He is referring to the known, and as yet unsolved (and intrinsically unsolvable) problems with Tor and the inherent security flaws in the medium it uses; the internet.

  3. So much security?
    I was pirated in my wallet disappeared 0.4BTC.
    I advise anyone and slow and unreliable.

  4. Professor Hindsight

    Hey Dev if u have such an issue with Agora then go somewhere else. ACER: you were ” pirated ” .4BTC ? What the hell does that mean ? It sounds like you fell prey to someone duping you into giving them your credentials, via pm, and snatching your coin.

    Yes the constant downtime sucks. It still remains feasible to do business though. It definitely beats SR2 and Evo doesn’t have the volume or history to consider it as the best market yet. I think Agora is a little lax on security considering all of their clearnet links.

    There is no perfect market, so unless you lost coin to a market shutdown or ” hack “, then shut up.

  5. Professor Hindsight

    Correction: I meant Evo is lax on security due to clearnet links.

  6. Agora had earned 81,000 BTC by mid-August from their 5% – $40 million. Enough to find somebody who can reduce the 20% downtime.

    https://blockchain.info/address/1HC3dc4DubRat1P39YBBkwVRbph3ijbtPQ

    maybe they have problems delegating.

    • Oh_Please

      It is getting tiresome seeing this blockchain wallet presented as Agora’s net profit. They have NOT made $40,000,000 in 8 months. Do any of you people spreading this bogus number have any grasp of common sense and reality?

      Here is something to help you understand the lunacy of your claims. According to you guys, Agora made more money in 8 months than the following companies made in all of FY 12

      Waste Management
      Kering
      Thomson Reuters
      Commerzbank
      Korea Electric Power
      Air Canada
      Starbucks
      NECAvon Products
      Nintendo
      Avis Budget Group
      LinkedIn
      Hanwha Chemical
      Vale

      Just stop, OK?!?

      • Sheep scammed about 100 mio in a couple of days.. not so far fetched that agora made 80 mio since theyre up

      • Starbucks claims to make virtually no profit, that’s why it doesn’t pay tax.

        I was surprised by how low Agora’s takings are, but there you go – finding a marketplace’s commission wallet is about the easiest task on the blockchain. just deposit some bitcoin on the marketplace, do a reverse (forward-looking) taint analysis. Ignore “% taint” but look at the number of connections. It reads like 1,2,1,1,3,1,7583,2,1,1.

        The wallet was emptied several times a day, but was dormant anytime agora was down. Needless to say, the escrow wallet has had a lot more bitcoin pass through it.

        Ther narcotics market would be the 3rd-largest country by GDP.

        Why don’t you show us the wallet YOU think agora siphon their commission through? Because I’m 0one of the few freelance forensic blockchain accountants, working for groups such as the MTGOX victims and their legal team. believe it or not.

  7. lol why are y’all bitching ag is one of the best markets if you don’t like it use another market and when your coins disappear ill say i told you so, thats exactly why cannabis road is gone because they didn’t worry about security like agora did

  8. agora might be inconsistent but as hard as it is …. you should value your ass not being tailed and then [email protected]$%#ed by the feds which happened recently to a dude i know

  9. We r doxxing Agora *admins* and rite now thingz r look n *dirty* !$? E X I T S C A M warn n !?*

  10. Agora is the next Exit Scam Guys, believe me.
    And if Agora comes back again, dont feel safe!

    Please take care of your Coins. The best way
    is to made FE for your trusted Vendor so the
    Market(s) cant steal your Money !!!

  11. I would like to thank Agora for their explanation and for the valuable service they provide. I doubt that many fully understand the complexities and risks undertaken by Agora Admin.

  12. What proof do you have of the alleged exit scam?

    • Idiots like will only be satisfied when it becomes news and then it’s too fuckin late and people like you will be standing around with their thumbs up their asshole asking “what happened”? with that stupid look on your face!

  13. Fuck Agora! Worst site EVER! You will lose your money when the site goes down which happens way to often!

  14. Okay, so my question is simply are there any other markets similar to Agora with similar contraband? I have my VPN and Tor browser which both seem apparently worthless if all I can get to are forums like this and never get through to Agora marketplace.

  15. Lets create a new super-secure market that uses anonymously built server rooms all around the world, to hop servers every few hours. gg

    • Interested in doing that….so do you have a plan to build this new super-secure market that uses anonymously built server rooms all around the world, to hop servers every few hours

  16. Does anyone know of any good sites because It wont allow me to access Agora website or registration page so Im guessing they are not a site anymore. Thanks

  17. Mano Al ManoBordogga

    If you are buying from Agora, send only the price of the product you’re buying. This way your BTC will go to the dealer before it goes down. Think you dumb fucks….

  18. It’s total bullshit that you haven’t lost any of our coins! I was one of the people whose funds were stolen in mid-transaction back in Nov/Dec 2014. I lost over $800 and I was pissed so I sent a shitload of messages and never got a reply. Thanks for nothing. That was the end of my business relationship with Agora!

  19. agora should change their name & url theyre getting too big

  20. So much for SUPER SECURITY!!!

    According to this article on Cryptocoins News there are undercover cops selling guns on Agora which has led to arrests in several counties…
    cryptocoinsnews.com/dark-net-weapons-bust-leads-17-arrests-80000-bitcoin-seizure/

    Agora!!! If you don’t already know this then you do now!!! You need to flush out these assholes if you want to regain the trust of your members!!!!

  21. Scoring drugs on the street is dar easier, in uk anyway, who would want to source drugs via online.

  22. i can not login to my agora account could admin help first i forgot my pin but it was due to set new one to day but i cant login any help would be apprecciated

  23. you have to be a real asshole to bad mouth these guys at agora.they are providing a badly needed service for us and trying to protect us and themselves from countless governments and hackers.could you even imagine the harton the guys at the cia get when they think about taking down agora.think about it,they are going up against the most evil,richest forces in the world”the united states government’and they are winning.giving you and me a safe place to buy and sell merchandise that can be sold no where else and some of you are bitching about them trying to keep us safe and complaining about downtime…what the fuck have you done today??

    i only got one thing to say and that is a big shout out and thanx to the guys and or girls at agora.keep up the good fight,some of us are behind you 100 percent

    • laughing

      Totally agreed. I Still think there gone for good unless they Sell the site to say a some Refugee camp. But just good business to do that. Good for safety of customers and themselves and no you never say .Hey I am closing down because some fat ass LE was at my flat asking Questions. Like Telling the LE this is the right guy close the case now Raid his house! No I think there gone more power to them no Exit scam crap just a sorry got to go see you again some time next life. That’s Class! I will miss em maybe in five years they open a new different market if they do get new i.d’s. guys and new harddrives Nuke the rest. Greed = Prison!

  24. Always down. Dark Web is fucked up after silkroad

    • silkroad was just a F#$% up . The Manager was using his real life login and tried to ship him self fake ids threw his own Site with his PICTURE ON CONNECTED TO HIS LOGIN! And he only logged in to do business witch sounds smart but not(counter intuitive but)..One big Weakness Tor has is that L.E. (A FBI researcher admitted) can Tell the time you logon to Tor and off(Big weakness bc obviously means they know who uses Tor. Not really hard to do) Likely the FBI also got a sever Farm set up as fake node. So If you login at say 4:02 am and 4:03 you login to silkroad they get a pattern of said stupid behavior after say a month…. The Answer stay logged in and use a vpn and login to do your stuff.. Maybe do it all threw a encrypted Remote Server. And Stop using the Same Damded Coffee shop . Literally Do Not SH#T WEAR YOU EAT! If silkroad done any of this it still be hear.

      • laughing

        That is to say stay on Tor (Logged on to tor) not your site and change ids ever 5 minutes automatically.Go read some wikileaks or whatever and leave it there. Not stay logged into your site (for the stupid bothers and sister I thought I be clear on that)

  25. Someone ddos there nodes and reroute them into there choice of Exit nodes and enter..(I.E. The L.E.) And now there sh$t them selves and hiding under the bed formatting hard drives and nuking them deciding if the should give up and stay hid. Likely will. Running like Hell when you are Under the Police scrutiny just Smart. Likely they bought a house got some hookers and Cops started looking, Know who they are and there just hoping it all goes away. Stay Hiding GUYS!You know what they call a Criminal that Does this ? A success story..

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