Sorting Through the Dread & Olympus Drama

Update: Yesterday DeepDotWeb was contacted by both HugBunter and Olympus market and was able them to get them to contact each other to try and sort the issues between them, Olympus market admins apologized for this incident and hurting the whole DNM community and assured this will be sorted,  Hugbunter confired he talked to them and will be relaunching soon with a new design (pictures will be updated into this article within few hours)

Dread, a hidden service that thousands of Reddit users flocked to after the death of the darknetmarkets subreddit, started unexpectedly redirecting users to an address owned by Olympus Market. This surprised not only thousands of users of the Reddit-like discussion board, but also the site’s owner. The creator of Dread, HugBunter, said that things had finally started to settle down until he discovered that something had gone horribly wrong. Olympus Market claimed they had hacked Dread and that the owner had previously owned a darknet market that exit scammed many months ago.

Not everybody likes HugBunter. Not everybody trusts the anonymous pentester known for exposing flaws various darknet markets. HugBunter was known for that. But in addition to running a massive discussion board on the darknet where free speech is promoted, HugBunter offered marketplace security penetration tests. Markets could pay for a report on what they needed to fix in order to prevent a bad actor or law enforcement agency from maliciously accessing their servers. So, when Olympus Market announced they had hacked Dread—a site owned and created by a security professional—did community members believe the announcement?

Not for long. Something undeniably awful had happened to Dread’s servers, but that undeniably awful thing did not match the story conveyed by Olympus Market. Dread got compromised. Hands down. Even HugBunter admitted he had made a massive mistake. Olympus’s announcement used the phrase “we hacked Dread” in nearly every paragraph. In a sense, maybe that phrase was accurately used. But they did not hack Dread in the sense the Olympus admin wanted to convey. Instead, Olympus bought server access from one of HugBunter’s admins for an amount that has not yet been made public. They bought the private key to the Dread onion address, the Dread source code, and Dread’s database.

When the bigger markets fell to Europol and the FBI, smaller markets rushed to fill the void. Olympus entered the scene after the majority of those marketplaces. They tried hard to become one of the ‘real’ markets. Not long ago, Olympus posted celebratory messages about being added to the DeepDotWeb darknet market list (and in response to their behavior—as of this post—they have been removed from the list). When the subreddit bans started, Olympus pushed their forums as an alternative communication platform. HugBunter, a self-described “neutral entity regarding markets,” proposed Dread. Olympus used constant vote manipulation to highlight posts about their forums and downvote posts about Dread.

Prior to the full adoption of Dread by former Reddit users, Olympus reached out to HugBunter and asked to be listed on Dread. HugBunter told Olympus he would add them once he got around to updating his onion link list. When the Reddit bannhammers struck in full force, HugBunter still had not gotten around to adding Olympus. Olympus shilled even harder on the /r/darknetmarketsneoobs subreddit. They vote manipulated and made sure to keep Dread posts downvoted and Olympus forum posts upvoted.

Dread implemented marketplace advertisements to help pay the bills. Olympus started publicly calling HugBunter a scammer. They started flooding rumors about HugBunter’s alleged affiliation with every known and unknown market. One of their main justifications for “hacking Dread,” in their words, came from the fact that HugBunter owed the community “crypto worth of over $1 million dollars stolen.” HugBunter is and likely always will be a neutral party. So, roughly one week before the shit hit the fan, HugBunter created a fake account on Olympus to test how far the market would go.

He pretended to be a rogue member of HugBunter’s staff. Long story short, fake HugBunter offered to sell Olympus a service where he could “moderate” posts on Dread about Olympus. Deleting posts that painted them in a negative light, etc. They, in turn, asked the “disgruntled employee “ for server access and offered $50,000 for access to the server (Later they confirmed privately they paid 10k). This message has been seen and confirmed by the DNMAvengers Administrator, by former TradeTroude Customer Service Admin SamCulper, and by DarknetMarkets mod Wombat2Combat. HugBunter gave them the credentials to the account on Olympus and they saw the messages between fake HugBunter and Olympus. Olympus was admittedly suspicious, but they still offered $50,000 for server access, but since the “disgruntled Dread employee” only had limited access, Olympus offered to pay a weekly fee for the dishonest post manipulation.

HugBunter admitted that his ruse may have pushed Olympus to reach out to his partner to arrange the same kind of deal. According to HugBunter, Olympus paid $10,000 for the Dread private key, source code, and database. HugBunter had not carelessly given out his private key or access to his server either. His partner was more than a hired developer. He referred to him as “a trusted partner” and “like a brother.” For a measly $10,000, HugBunter’s partner sold everything to Olympus. They had their one day of fun; they redirected the site to their own forums and talked about the vulnerability in Dread’s platform they had exploited. Their time has passed.

HugBunter is working on rebuilding. He says the worst part about the whole ordeal was losing his memorable onion address. He does not want vengeance on Olympus. In fact, he wants to avoid drama. He is also still working on vendor shops. Olympus claimed he scammed vendors by failing to provide their customs shops, but HugBunter has said vendors would “either be refunded or I can set their site up still.”