Hackers have removed over 6,500 deep web sites stored on a popular dark web server.
A site called Daniel’s Hosting was on the hidden Tor network, and many people used it to host pages that they did not want to publish to the wider network.
Administrator Daniel Winsen said there are no backups of the pages he hosts.
He said the site should be up and running again in December.
“The server hosted about 6,500 hidden services,” Winsen wrote in a post posted on the website’s web companion welcome page.
“It is impossible to recover from this violation, all data is gone.”
Tor or the onion router is a way of organizing web pages, making it difficult to know where the information is and who is using it.
Web pages hosted on the Tor network receive the .onion suffix.
The Tor browser also allows people to browse the web in ways that hide their location and hide their identity.
Daniel’s hosting has become one of the most popular sites for .onion site owners after the largest hosting was shut down in early 2017.
Daniel’s posted a very wide range of material, including fanfiction, political tracts, philosophy books, porn, hacked files, videos, marketplaces, cryptocurrency forums, and places where whistleblowers could leave documents.
Winsen told the BBC that he is still trying to figure out how the hackers gained access to the site on November 15, when all the data was deleted.
“At the moment, I have not found a vulnerability,” he said.
The prime candidate is a recently discovered vulnerability in PHP – a computer scripting language used to develop websites – that was circulating in some hacker circles shortly before the Danvin attack.
The Anonymous hacker collective was behind the removal of other deep web hosts (sites), but so far there is no sign of that group’s involvement in this attack.