- Street: 32 Rue De Strasbourg
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- State: Hawaii
- Country: France
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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 from vaccine doses to falsified vaccine certifications and negative test results. Currently, significantly 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 been monitoring the sites for Covid-19-related activity since January, and they report a three-fold increase in such activity throughout the last three months. It’s unclear if the doses are legitimate, and even if these were, there’s no guarantee that the vials have been stored at the proper temperature, potentially rendering them useless.
Last week, Check Point researchers located in Israel attempted to get the Sinopharm vaccine in one 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 vendor, 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 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 cost for negative test results is only $25. Vaccination cards are harder to come by and can sell 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 fabricating a “digital green certificate” that they hope to roll out by June to allow its citizens and residents to visit across borders. In the US, proof vaccination could grant people use of certain venues, and employers may require it of their workers to return 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 with their customers. The goal dark0de market – http://espressobin.net/forums/users/iayarnulfo/, he said, “are folks on the ground, people who are seeking to spread and sell at the local level in bulk.”
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