- Street: 96 Berambing Crescent
- City: Blackett
- State: Kentucky
- Country: Australia
- Zip/Postal Code: 2770
Vendors are cashing in on people desperate to leapfrog the line—or falsely certify they got the shot.Security researchers have seen a spike in listings on dark web marketplaces in recent weeks. The sites are advertising sets from vaccine doses to falsified vaccine certifications and negative test results. Currently, more than 1,200 listings are offering a number 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 escalation in such activity over the last three months. It’s unclear if the doses are legitimate, and even if they were, there’s no guarantee that the vials have been stored at the right temperature, potentially rendering them useless.
A week ago, Check Point researchers based in Israel attempted to purchase the Sinopharm vaccine from 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 carry on 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 for 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 cost for negative test results is as low as $25. Vaccination cards are harder in the future 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 in the act of making a “digital green certificate” which they desire to roll out by June allowing its citizens and residents to travel across borders. In the US, proof of vaccination could grant people usage of certain venues, and employers may require it of their employees to come 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 set up long-term relationships making use of their customers. The mark darkode market (http://imsnap.co.kr/ – http://imsnap.co.kr/xe/?document_srl=63688), he said, “are folks on the floor, individuals who are trying to spread and sell at the local level in bulk.”
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