Daniel's Hosting Goes Dark - The Dark Web Providers Under Attack

Dark Web has a sinister reputation as one of the most active spaces for anonymous communication by hackers, and sellers and buyers of illegal merchandise. There have been several incidents when hackers have even leaked databases related to Dark Web hosting providers as well. Recently, Daniel's Hosting, a popular web hosting provider for Dark Web services, was hit with a data breach incident.

What happened

Daniel's Hosting, one of the largest free-hosting providers on Dark Web, recently witnessed a data breach incident.
  • In May 2020, a hacker named KingNull, who claims to be part of the Anonymous hacker, uploaded a copy of Daniel's Hosting (DH)'s stolen database on a file-hosting portal.
  • The leaked database contained sensitive information such as 3,671 email addresses, 7,205 account passwords, and 8,580 private keys for .onion (Dark Web) domains owned by thousands of darknet users.
  • This information can be used to connect to the owners of leaked domains.

This is not the first incident

In February 2017, Daniel's Hosting became the largest hosting provider for Dark Web services, and since then, it has witnessed several cyber incidents. And it is not just Daniel's Hosting, other service providers have also experienced such cyber incidents.
  • In March 2020, Daniel's Hosting was forced to shut down following a hack, during which an attacker accessed and deleted the web hosting portal's entire database comprising of 7,600 Dark Web portals.
  • In November 2018, a hacker got access to the database and deleted all accounts related to Daniel's Hosting services, due to which around 6,500+ Dark Web services hosted on the platform were lost.
  • In February 2017, Anonymous hackers hacked and defaced Freedom Hosting II after they discovered that the hosting provider was sheltering child abuse and drug peddling content.

Dark Web - the double-edged sword

The database about all the owners of the Dark Web domains could allow law enforcement agencies to deanonymize administrators of Dark Web services that were involved in illegal activities. Unfortunately, it could also put in danger the activists and dissidents that use the darknets to avoid the censorship applied by regimes such as journalists, alternative news organizations, educators, politicians, and researchers.

In essence

According to a 2019 study, Into the Web of Profit, as compared to 2016, there has been a 20% rise in the number of darknet listings that have the potential to cause harm to the enterprise. These include an increase in targeted malware for sale, enterprise-specific DDoS services, corporate data for sale, and brand-spoofing phishing tools. The dark web URLs hosted by the hosting providers like Daniel's Hosting contain botnets, fraud sites, sites peddling hacked data, Illegal pornography content, and leaks of sensitive data that helps increase the reach of illicit actors.