COVID-19 vaccines on sale for $250 on dark net

As vaccination programmes against COVID-19 get underway around the world, criminals are stepping up efforts to offer them for sale on the dark net, according to cybersecurity specialists.

Check Point Software Technologies (CPST) says it has found “a stream of posts on the dark net from sources claiming to have a range of ‘coronavirus vaccines’  or ‘coronavirus remedies’ for sale,” typically asking for payments in Bitcoin of around $250 to $300.

There’s no way to determine what the vaccines being offered are – or whether they exist at all – but it’s certain that they have nothing to do with the candidates from the likes of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca that are closest to being widely-available.

That means users would be injecting unknown substances with a risk of infections as well as other side effects.

“Unfortunately, while most of us are watching with hope, there are some watching with greed and malice in their minds, with the intent of capitalising [on] people´s concerns about COVID-19 and desire to be protected against the risk of catching it,” according to CPST.

Coronavirus treatments are also on offer, including those such as chloroquine which have no evidence to back up their benefits.

In one example cited by CPST, the seller claims to have stock from a “leading” pharmaceutical company for a “newly-approved vaccine” that is supposedly available for sale and delivery to the UK, the US and Spain and is “just one WhatsApp or Telegram chat away!”

The finding comes shortly after Interpol has warned that organised criminals are preparing to cash in on the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines via “falsification, theft and illegal advertising of unlicensed shots” – as well as flu vaccines.

The US federal government has also taken action on this issue, launching Operation Stolen Promise 2.0 late last month in an attempt to identify and prevent the production, sale and distribution of illicit COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

CPST also said it had seen a surge in COVID-19 vaccine related web domains in November, which serves as a surrogate marker for illicit activity, as well as a spike in vaccine-related phishing email campaigns.

“Our data shows that since the beginning of November there were 1,062 new domains which contain the word “vaccine” that were registered, out of which 400 also contain ‘covid’ or ‘corona’, it says.

For comparison, that is the same number of new domains with those characteristics for the three-month period from August through October.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top