- Street: 39 Avenue Ferdinand De Lesseps
- City: Gradignan
- State: Minnesota
- Country: France
- Zip/Postal Code: 33170
Vendors are cashing in on people desperate to leapfrog the line—or falsely certify which they got the shot.Security researchers have seen a spike in listings on dark web marketplaces in recent weeks. The sites are advertising from vaccine doses to falsified vaccine certifications and negative test results. Currently, a lot more than 1,200 listings are offering a variety of vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sputnik, and Sinopharm.
Investigations by researchers at security firm Check Point have already been monitoring the sites for Covid-19-related activity since January, and they report a three-fold upsurge in such activity over the last three months. It’s unclear if the doses are legitimate, and even when these were, there’s no guarantee that the vials have already been stored at the correct temperature, potentially rendering them useless.
The other day, Check Point researchers based in Israel attempted to get the Sinopharm vaccine from vendor, said Ekram Ahmed, a spokesperson for the company. “We tried to negotiate and choose the Chinese vaccine through among the vendors,” he told Ars. The team messaged the seller, who directed them to carry on the negotiations on Telegram. Once there, the seller provided reassurances that the vaccine doses were legitimate. The researchers sent $500 to a Bitcoin wallet, and while they’ve received a FedEx shipping label, they’ve yet to receive the shipment.
Dark web vendors are most likely doing better business selling falsified vaccine cards and negative test results. “Lately, we’re seeing more vaccination certificates being offered” than vaccines, Ahmed said. “It’s probably a two-to-one ratio.”
With COVID-19 testing becoming more widespread, the price for negative test results is as low as $25. Vaccination cards are harder to come by and are selling for more, around $200. These certificates are becoming passports of sorts, allowing people a freedom of movement they haven’t enjoyed in months. The European Union is along the way of creating a “digital green certificate” they hope to roll out by June allowing its citizens and residents traveling across borders. In the US, proof vaccination could grant people use of certain venues, and employers may require it of their workers to come back to the workplace.
The researchers have alerted Europol to the listing and are contacting others today.the Check Point spokesperson, stated that the sellers they contacted on dark web marketplaces were hoping to create long-term relationships using their customers. The target darkode market – https://www.mingletag.com/author/linarausch5/, he explained, “are folks on a lawn, people who are looking to spread and sell at the local level in bulk.”
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