A hacker has managed to leak more than 200,000 private messages of the members of AlphaBay, an underground marketplace for drugs and other illicit substances.
Multiple reports indicate that the hacker managed to access the private messages of users of the site as well as email addresses and other forms of information that can be used to identify the people who use the dark web-hosted site.
The administrators of the website have stated in a statement that they decided to pay the hacker after the hacker announced that he had successfully accessed the messages of the users of the site.
The administrators of the site also indicated that their users do not have to worry about their data now because the company had managed to pay the hacker in exchange of the information that the hacker had used to access the website.
‘We were informed about the bugs that the hacker used to access our site and we decided to pay the hacker immediately in exchange of the information,’ the administrators of the site stated in the statement
It was further said that that the developers working on the website managed to immediately fix the flaws that the hacker had exploited and that users of the site do not have a reason to worry about the security of their data.
But it appears that there is a controversy surrounding what exactly happened, the size of data that the hacker accessed and the extent to which users of AlphaBay can rest assured that all is well with their data.
Some commentators have questioned the truthfulness of the statement by the admins of AlphaBay, pointing out that it is possible the administrators are downplaying the incident.
Motherboard, a technology website, has pointed out that AlphaBay has faced a similar incident before. The website has posted details of a similar attack against AlphaBay that occurred back in April 2016, thus fuelling the concerns among observers that AlphaBay needs to do a lot to secure the data of its clients.
However, AlphaBay has maintained that the breach was minimal and that its users only need to encrypt their sensitive information as a normal security measure and not necessarily as a response to the recent hacking incident.
The hacking was carried out by a hacker who uses the moniker Cipher 0007. Since the announcement of the hacking and the response from AlphaBay that followed, the hacker has been silent.