Following Donald Trump’s quick recovery from Kovid-19 last month, advertisements appeared on the Dark Web – the Internet’s seamless underbelly – selling what he claimed was a drug from Regionne Pharmaceuticals Inc. that the president saw as a ‘miracle’ – Even though it was not yet approved for public sale.
In May, coronovirus cases have increased worldwide and there is no end in sight, with a supposed Spanish laboratory physician promising Kovid-19 infected blood and sputum. It was unclear whether it was introduced because it may contain protective antibodies or a way to infect an unintentional enemy. The price for either treatment was $ 100 for two syringes.
And back in April, when intensive care units around the world were gasping for air with Kovid-19 patients, a vendor on the dark web promised ventilators “in bulk supply.” According to the sellers, buyers purchased at least 300, identified only as Jhoncliffe.
The way the epidemic has led to the buying and selling of goods such as toilet paper, airplane seats and Vermont real estate has roasted most of the illegal markets that thrive on the Dark Web. There, a global health crisis is on display of profiteering and panic buying.
Since the deaths have reached 1.2 million globally, hundreds of thousands of advertisements of the Kovid-19 scandal have come and gone in the Dark Web markets, the site for the sale of drugs, guns, pornography and various types of stolen property during normal times. Huh. Including digital identification.
While accessing the Dark Web does not involve complex gadgetry or knowledge, it is not a place where most users find themselves. Many transactions are illegal, and the use of aliases is ideal. For the past few months, Bloomberg News has been investigating these underground sites and channels to the extent that Kovid-19 has reopened the illegal markets of the Dark Web and created new opportunities for its threat.
In the first months of the epidemic, vendors specialized mostly in hard-to-find Kovid commodities, including medical devices and test kits. By late summer, stolen digital identities were being sold specifically for the purpose of defrauding government programs to help small businesses and the unemployed. Recently, Dark Web profiteers have offered so-called vaccines for those willing to wait for final government approval.
According to an upcoming report by CTI League, a coalition of cyber security researchers investigating the intersection of Kovid-19 and the Internet, nearly $ 100 million worth of Kovid-related goods have been listed for sale on the Dark Web. In a survey of the 25 largest dark web marketplaces, the CTI League found that 10% included Kovid-related branding.
It is almost impossible for sellers to know how attractive this market has been. But the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime predicted in June that drug dealers would turn to Kovid-themed products, suggesting that enough desperate shoppers exist to make money for sellers.
“Covid is like a big Black Friday sale for the Dark Web,” said Sean O’Connor of the CTI League. “It is a marketing tool on the Dark Web that is a net positive result for Dark Web vendors.”
In April, the United Nations pointed to smuggling of Kovid goods and financial fraud as an early indicator of the times to come. As scientists and disease control specialists move through the diagnosis and testing phase and move into the treatment and prevention phases, so will scammers, according to the international organization.
Something is already there. A recent “vaccine” advertisement claimed to have been used by a lab technician for treatment that has been tested, but stated that the advertisement would not be public for years.
“The whole world is panicking about a virus that was created by humans,” the ad reads, selling what she claimed was a successful Kovid vaccine for $ 25,000. “I was admitted to a laboratory producing vaccines for this disease. It has tested on Israeli patients and it works. ”
Another theory is about a conspiracy theory about how private laboratories are employing vaccines to increase their price. But for the lucky few, the seller “broke the vials out of the lab, which has been confirmed by Israel’s minister of science and technology.” The vials are sold for five bitcoins, or about $ 77,000, with an apocalyptic claim by its seller. The advertisement claims that it is “the only option to prevent death”. Bloomberg News reached out to this and other vendors of Kovid-related products, but no one asked for comment.
Of course, the problem with buying a vaccine on the dark web is that there is no guarantee that the real stuff is there. Not surprisingly, there is a history of dark web merchants ripping off their customers. For example, when masks were in short supply in the early stages of the disease, according to local media reports, scammers in Thailand drove them out of the trash cans, retrofitted them and sold them as new.
“Online vendors in Darknet markets have accommodated the Kovid-19 epidemic by connecting various products and services to their illegal inventions,” said David Mammon, director of the Evidence Based Cyberspace Research Group at Georgia State University. “We currently see a relatively small amount of advertisements for Kovid-19 items, yet there has been a sharp increase in the amount of advertising for financial scandals related to Kovid.”
The Kovid gold rush has led to new uses for the vast cache of hacked content available on the Dark Web: criminals using it to rip off government programs to help people struggling during an epidemic, according to security officials Have been. A popular target is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which has paid $ 260 billion to millions of Americans experiencing difficulty paying their bills. The Inspector General of the Department of Labor estimates that as long as the program runs dry, fraud and waste could cause a loss of $ 26 billion to the program.
Scams operate somewhat differently, but essentially boil fraudsters accessing the dark web for a person or company’s personally identifiable information – name, social security, tax ID, date of birth and address – then the information Use to fill an application for Kovid related benefits.
Run the scandal often enough and may add up to tens of millions of dollars in returns, Byung J. Pak, US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said he says has been a hotbed for both medical products and financial crimes. Epidemic. The department currently has 40 open investigations related to coronovirus crimes, most of which focus on dark net schemes aimed at stealing money from government welfare programs.
In mid-October, according to dedicated channels on the chat app Telegram, PUA programs in Michigan, Georgia and Arizona included the most popular scams, ‘Unemployment Benefits,’ ‘Darkside Forum,’ and ‘SBA Grants and Non-Deployment’. The guides are also instructing users to avoid states like Kansas, Nevada and West Virginia because they stopped paying. Washington, Massachusetts, Illinois and Ohio “You can be tracked and in trouble,” according to a guide distributed free on the Dark Web. The reason for all the guidance on the Dark Web is simple according to a Dark Web vendor named Christopher Gentry. “PUA pays,” he said.
(This story is published from a wire agency feed without textual modifications.)
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