An Irish dark web vendor is selling fake COVID-19 vaccines on the dark web for 350 euros. According to an article published by the Irish Times based on the story, the fake certificates are reportedly hard to distinguish from the genuine documents and can be used by anyone to travel abroad without the requirement of being vaccinated.
Dark web commentators have come out to confirm that this particular product listing is being sold by several other dark web vendors that have been advertising COVID-19 vaccine certificates, with others noting the increase in popularity in Irish vaccine certificates bought across underground platforms.
Point to add, anyone can also buy fake negative PCR tests and fake recovery certificates that can be used to dupe the authorities into believing that a person has recently recovered from the coronavirus (See screenshot below).
Figure 1: A Digital EU COVID-19 Test Certificate on sale in ToRReZ market.
People can purchase the fake certificates over notable dark web marketplaces, which offer a custom QR code that displays the buyer’s name when scanned by the authorities. You’ll be surprised to realize that dark web vendors are also selling realistic-looking printed HSE vaccination cards alongside typical listings of drugs and hacking tools.
Further reports point to the fact that the number of COVID-related listings have skyrocketed in the recent past even as prices continue to vary sharply from one jurisdiction to another.
In Ireland, prices of COVID-related dark web wares have increased in price owing to the government’s directive requiring all citizens to acquire vaccine certificates in order to travel.
2020 Report: Dark Web Drug Sales Increased by 500 Percent amid COVID-19 Crisis
In 2020, cybersecurity reports highlighted the rapid increase in dark web drug sales at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cybersecurity company Sixgill went on to publish a detailed 17-page report that gave a clear picture of the dark web economy amid the coronavirus crisis.
The cyber intelligence company studied the dark web by focusing on the frequency of vendor listings and buyer feedback in the time period between December 2019 and April 2020.
The researchers achieved interesting findings – in highlight, listings for illicit substances on dark web platforms surged by 495 percent during the study period as COVID-19-induced government restrictions prompted drug dealers to switch to alternative product distribution avenues.
A close look at the listings showed that Cannabis postings on darknet sites rose by 555 percent, while MDMA listings grew by a margin of 224 percent. Cocaine scored the highest in terms of product listings on the dark web – it jumped by 1,000 percent over the course of the study.