Look who’s back? The Dark Web Hacking Forum ‘Hell’
Just months after users speculated that the infamous dark web hacking forum, ‘Hell’ was shut for good, it has made a comeback. The dark web hacking forum ostentatiously called “Hell,” was hovered by undercover cops and it was shut down amidst rumors of its founder being arrested has just relaunched online, according to Motherboard.
The now-infamous forum for hacking tips and stolen data gained public recognition when a hacker dumped the intimate information of 4 million users of the hook-up service Adult Friend Finder. The company was compelled to publicly confess the breach, which exposed users’ sexual orientation, age, gender and race.
A couple of weeks later the site’s administrator and founder, known as “Ping,” disappeared, prompting rumours that he had been arrested. Even though Ping resurfaced a few days later, the site was shut down in mid-July after rumours of internal disputes and law enforcement presence weakened the forum.
However, the site is live again under an old forum moderator, which looks and feels exactly the same way. The site is run through the anonymizing browser Tor.
“Hell is now public,” the new forum administrator, nicknamed “HA,” wrote in a post. “Anyone can share the HELL URL where they see fit.”
When Motherboard contacted HA through the forum’s private message system, neither the administrator responded to a request for a comment nor the old administrator, Ping, could be reached for comment.
The new site has the same exact design like the old one, wherein the over-the-top logo of a sports car is riding toward a hellish looking town. Similar message boards where users can buy and sell hacked data, as well as share their hacking techniques and tutorials are also there.
Users have expressed skepticism that the new forum is any safer than the original iteration.
“Welcome Back, I really missed the HELL,” wrote a user named ain_el_morris, responding to a post by HA titled “we learn from our PAST,” which was just a link to the first Motherboard article on Hell. “Thou [sic] must observe utmost precaution at all times and ONLY trust yourself.”
Writing in a thread titled “Is this actually safe,” a user called “Masclacht” wrote, “How am I to trust the site administrator?”
“Don’t worry about anything regarding LE, NSA and others,” HA answered. “If you suspect anyone to be LE please let us know so that we can take proper action against them, since this is not a place for them.”
It’s unclear when exactly Hell came back online as the forum doesn’t log the dates when posts are made—likely for security reasons. An anonymous source tipped Motherboard off to the site’s new .onion URL (https://legionhiden4dqh4.onion) on Sunday and judging from the extremely low amount of posts, it probably just relaunched last weekend.
Currently, there are no signs whether the site is a law enforcement honeypot. However, users might find it difficult to trust Hell, given its infamous history.