- Street: Paul-Nevermann-Platz 72
- City: Poppenhausen
- State: Nebraska
- Country: Germany
- Zip/Postal Code: 97489
Vendors are cashing in on people desperate to leapfrog the line—or falsely certify that they got the shot.Security researchers have experienced a spike in listings on dark web marketplaces in recent weeks. The sites are advertising everything from vaccine doses to falsified vaccine certifications and negative test results. Currently, more than 1,200 listings are offering many different vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sputnik, and Sinopharm.
Investigations by researchers at security firm Check Point have now been monitoring the sites for Covid-19-related activity since January, and they report a three-fold increase in such activity over the last three months. It’s unclear if the doses are legitimate, and even when they were, there’s no guarantee that the vials have now been stored at the correct temperature, potentially rendering them useless.
A week ago, Check Point researchers based in Israel attempted to purchase the Sinopharm vaccine in one vendor, said Ekram Ahmed, a spokesperson for the company. “We tried to negotiate and choose the Chinese vaccine through one of the vendors,” he told Ars. The team messaged the seller, who directed them to continue the negotiations on Telegram. Once there, owner 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 get the shipment.
Dark web vendors are probably 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 ahead 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 to allow its citizens and residents to travel across borders. In the US, proof vaccination could grant people usage of certain venues, and employers may require it of their employees to go back to the workplace.
The researchers have alerted Europol to the listing and are contacting others today.the Check Point spokesperson, said that the sellers they contacted on dark web marketplaces were hoping to setup long-term relationships with their customers. The prospective darkode market – http://www.sicipiscine.it/?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=user&id=1745063, he explained, “are folks on the ground, individuals who are looking to spread and sell at the area level in bulk.”
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