Cybercriminals have started trafficking fake vaccines and certificates, according to a new report.
The darknet, a part of the Internet that is not visible to search engines and requires a special browser to access it, has seen a 300% increase in fake vaccine ads in the last three months under the guise of brands such as Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sputnik and SinoPharm, according to Check Point Research (CPR), an IT security company.
“It’s clear to us that the target audience for darknet vaccine vendors is actually distributors, not necessarily the general public,” Check Point spokesman Ekram Ahmed told Fox News.
Providers appear to be interested in establishing long-term relationships, where they deliver vaccines in large quantities over a long period of time. Vaccine prices range from $ 500 to $ 600.
“Providers want infantrymen on the ground, in multiple geographies, to distribute the full spectrum of coronavirus services: vaccines, vaccination certifications and negative COVID tests,” Ahmed said.
And the boom in vaccine-related business on the darknet is recent, according to CPR.
Check Point tried to buy a vaccine. The provider first insisted on using an end-to-end encrypted service. Then, Check Point began a dialogue with the supplier, who assured Check Point that they would receive the vaccine and that the temperature would be regulated during shipment.
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Then the provider requested the payment via Bitcoin. “We paid them. They gave us a FedEx tracking number. The transaction took place last week and we have yet to receive the vaccine we ordered,” according to Ahmed.
And activity on the dark web has expanded to include fake vaccination cards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for $ 200 per card, CPR said.
Other Darknet activity includes false negative COVID-19 tests sold as “buy two get third free” offers and a DIY version of a negative COVID-19 test that can be generated in under 30 minutes for $ 25. .
A hacking forum stated that “we do negative COVID tests for travelers abroad and to get a job. Everything is done in 24 hours.”
Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission issued an advisory on COVID vaccine scams.
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“Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine. Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer,” the FTC said.
And always ignore COVID-19 vaccine sales ads because that is simply not how you get the vaccine, the FTC said. The vaccine is only available in federal and state approved locations.