What is Dread?
Dread Forum, which is recognized as the successor to DeepDotWeb was created and launched by “HugBunter” in early 2018. After a short downtime (see “Hacking incident” below) it was relaunched and its UI was completely remade to provide better security. Dread Forum is often referred to as ‘The reddit of the Darknet”. This is because when visiting the site you will immediately be reminded of reddit. the user interface is basically a clone. This means you can create not only your own threads but also your own subreddit.
But the main reason for the alternative is its approach to censorship: There is basically no moderation happening at all: Created subreddits will not be deleted and users are free to post any content they like. Commonly this revolves around drug-related matters. There are only a few exceptions: It is prohibited to disclose any private information (doxing) and also it is not allowed to share any information about sources for raw materials needed to manufacture drugs, since this would “ruin it for everyone”. And lastly, it is against the policy to offer any drugs for sale since Dread is a Forum and not a marketplace. If you are looking for a site to buy and sell drugs, you should go to other sites like Tochka Market. The subreddit “DarkNetMarkets” also is where you can find drug market sites recommended by users.
There is only a rule against selling directly, it is perfectly okay to advertise sites where you can buy and sell drugs. It goes without saying, that all content on dread is being encrypted before being sent to the servers. This is a standard procedure on most darknet sites.
While the Dread platform can be used for casual conversations as well, it really shows a focus on drug-related matters. It will not only discuss the procedures of manufacturing drugs (you can find complete tutorials there) but also how to handle shipping and the best ways to move it across borders. Regarding the manufacturing, it can go very much into detail and professional methods: Like how to obtain pill pressing machines without falling under suspicion by the authorities.
In autumn 2019, Dread went suddenly offline but came back online in November with improved functionality like improvements for the UI, the introduction of chatrooms and an overall increase in performance. While there were rumors about the site being compromised, HugBunter explained in a statement that the downtime was caused due to a server crash. Since he was already working on the new, improved version of Dread, he used the downtime to completely rebuild the infrastructure and relaunched the new version of Dread in November.
There will be always rumors about a platform being compromised whenever any darknet site goes down for an extended time but there is no evidence that this was the case. But as it always applies to any site of the darknet, you should always be aware that it is a possibility that sites can be compromised, this does not necessarily require a downtime. For protection, read the section about security recommendations below
Same as with all darknet sites the usual security recommendations apply. Most importantly: stay anonymous. Use the TOR browser only and don’t use the TOR browser for any regular (non-darknet) browsing.
Ideally, you have a dedicated system or at least a dedicated VM for all your darknet activities. Keep your darknet PGP keys and other credentials limited to that system only, do not mix it with any activities that would expose your identity.
Treat your dedicated system like a work-system: Only install the software necessary for your operations do not install anything for entertainment or other purposes. Subsequently, resist the urge to browse Twitter, Reddit or any other social media sites while you have downtime. For this always use your regular system.
For additional system security, we recommend you run a secure operating system like Tails or Whonix on your dedicated system for darknet activities. We also recommend using a VPN as an additional security measure since TOR will only anonymize your browsing sessions but not other traffic.
Especially when using any public WiFi hotspots you should always use a VPN when accessing the Internet since you don’t know whether the access point is compromised. A VPN ensures that all of your traffic, no matter what application, will always be strongly encrypted when passing the access point, this protecting yourself not only from eavesdropping but also possible identity theft.
Dread Forum Summary
Dread is probably one of the best forums for drug-related matters on the darknet. Since its launch it grew rapidly: Within just three months it amassed 12,000 users – quicker than any other darknet forum before.
Dread doesn’t only serve as a place to exchange information about Darknet developments but also as a general chating place: It is one of the more friendly communities in the Darknet with users chatting about various topics, not all related to the darknet matters. But of course, primarily the site serves as a go-to location for anyone interested in matters that cannot be discussed on the clearnet.
The news outlet Vice called it “the go-to platform for aspiring drug manufacturers” – what better recommendation can you get?