Phials of an mRNA type vaccine candidate for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are pictured at Chulalongkorn University during the development of an mRNA type vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bangkok, Thailand, May 25, 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )
Sellers on the dark side of the internet are capitalising on pandemic panic and scamming people seeking vaccines
The hidden corners of world wide web, commonly known as the "dark web" host bizarre things, as is famous among people who seek what is not easily available on the regular web. Now, sellers on the dark side of the internet are capitalising on pandemic panic and scamming people seeking vaccines.
Sellers have put up advertisements for coronavirus vaccines. Payment for these transactions may only be made in bitcoin. However, the goods do not get delivered to the buyer, as media reports claim, attributing it to cybersecurity firm called "Check Point".
To access the dark web, people require access to special software, which may be installed onto one's computers easily. Even then, the dark web is a dangerous place with no regulation mechanisms in place. People can easily buy drugs, weapons, and other illegal goods on the darknet.
But as the pandemic intensifies, along with global plans to continue vaccinations, hackers are attempting to take advantage.
Search queries for vaccines undertaken by Check Point received 340 hits for advertisements across 34 pages. When the company had undertaken a similar exercise in December, only 8 pages of results were seen.
The company published a report on Tuesday which highlighted the average price of vaccines which was $250 has gone up to $500, and in some cases even $1000.
The firm reached out to seller on the messaging application Telegram, placing an order for a vaccine dose. A vaccine made in China was on sale for $750 worth of bitcoin. Once the payment was made, and delivery address was shared, the seller deleted their account, with no package slated for delivery.
All vaccine-related listings require bitcoin as payment, the firm's report said. Bitcoin has been largely seen as an anonymous form of payment. But with time, it is getting easier to trace the cryptocurrency.