For the last few weeks, regular members of the popular Galaxy2 (or G2 to the regulars) darknet social media site on Tor, have been anxiously awaiting to hear the cause of the site’s unexplained week-long downtime. Rumors circulated across darknet and IRC chatrooms that site was under DDoS after G2’s hidden service initially gave a 502 Bad Gateway error and then was unresponsive thereafter.
Thursday night, after refreshing the hidden service, yet another time to see if it was back up, members were shocked to see a bittersweet update from the site Admin: Lameth.
It turns out the DDoS rumors were all conspiracy. In fact, the server hosting G2 suffered a catastrophic hardware failure, leading Lameth to announce that he “failed the community” in his duty as host and admin in not regularly backing up the server’s data. Hence his comment, "Galaxy2 is not coming back anytime soon" (Figure 1). He furthers that even if G2’s site data could be somehow salvaged, that this is the end for him as an administrator and site host.
What is G2?
What was G2 like?
G2 facilitated a variety of member groups, ranging from hackers to political activist, darknet newbies and feminists to a group dedicated to sharing recipes. Most groups were open to all members, unless it was by invite-only -- very similar to Facebook groups on the Clearnet. Popular groups included “The Café at the End of the Internet”, “Deepest Onion Links”, and “OPSEC”, where members could openly discuss the technical specifics on how to remain anonymous on the darknet as well as share links of interest across Tor.
Lameth offered no safe haven for the some 20,000 lost users of G2, but encouraged members to consider other darknet social media hidden services and chat services. TorBook and Blackbook are considered the next best alternatives, but some users say Blackbook poorly regulates users posting illicit content involving minors and TorBook, which looks exactly like Facebook, has advertisements on the main activity wall, cluttering up the user experience.
In an interview in 2014, shortly after the debut of G2, founder Lameth commented on the importance of social media, internet privacy and the anonymity that Tor provides.
While many believe that the darknet is full of the most heinous of criminals, selling fentanyl and abusing children, darknets, such as Tor and i2p, also facilitate the simplicity of connecting people anonymously, many from countries with oppressive governments that block Clearnet social media sites like Facebook. Galaxy2 will be sorely missed and DarkOwl will keep you informed if and when a comparable hidden service surfaces.