Hunting the coronavirus in the dark web – A month later

Pierluigi Paganini April 16, 2020

At the end of February, I analyzed major black marketplaces searching for anything related to the Coronavirus outbreak, a month later things are completely changed.

At the end of February, I published the analysis of major black marketplaces searching for anything related to the Coronavirus outbreak.

While the COVID19 pandemic was spreading a global scale, specific goods became victims of looting and financial speculation. In my first investigation, I focused my searches on masks to avoid contagion and disinfectant products, because these goods quickly disappeared from the official markets due to the high demand.

At the time of the first investigation, most of the offers were related to surgical masks, small vendors attempted to generate revenues exploiting the panic of the population. The landscape was characterized by small vendors offering a limited number of pieces for pricing between 5 and 60 euros per each item, and only in a few cases, I observed sellers that were offering certified masks (FFP3 or FFP2)

I have also searched for common cleaning products, including Clorox, Lysol, and Purell, but there were no sellers offering them.

Curiously, I have found some scammers attempting to sell capsules that claim to make immune to the coronavirus.

A month later

Cybercrime quickly adapted its offer to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak and many other products appeared in the listing of major black marketplaces.

I have visited all the major hacking communities and marketplaces searching for terms like ‘Coronavirus’, ‘Mask’, ‘N95’, ‘Test kit’, ‘pulmonary respirators’, ‘COVID19’, ‘chloroquine’, ‘Regeneron’, ‘remdesivir’, ‘Kevzara’, ‘Avigan’, ‘N95 Mask’, ‘Colidavir’, ‘Lopinavir’, ‘Favipiravir’, and hand sanitizer. Let’s see what I have discovered.

The sale of masks is exploded, the type of sellers is also deeply changed. New vendors appeared in the major black markets offering huge lot of masks composed of thousands of items, in some cases the vendors claim the shipment was from the European countries. This discovery suggests that criminal organizations have found a way to acquire the mask and import them through unofficial channels. This could be true at least for trusted vendors that already have successfully completed similar transactions.

Coronavirus Mask
Coronavirus Mask

Coronavirus Mask
Coronavirus Mask
Coronavirus Mask

Coronavirus Mask

The price for a single mask depends on the type and of course, on the dimension of the lots, it ranges from USD 0,50 up to USD 130.

A new entry in the listing of some markets is represented by the test kits, their price ranges between USD 15 up to USD 40.

coronavirus Test Kit

Coronavirus test kit

This time I also found several vendors that attempted to sell hand sanitizers, their price is doubled respect the legitimate channels.

Purchase price range between USD 6 and USD 12, the main problem is that these products are not the official products of well known brands, like Purrel or Amuchina.

Digging the black markets I also found Coronavirus thermometers, likely because they are difficult to find in many countries.

Coronavirus thermometers 1

Let’s close the tour with a new disconcerting discovery related to one of the drugs cited by media as a possible cure for the COVID19, the chloroquine.

I have found numerous offers of chloroquine, most of them are official packages available on the market in many countries, but in some cases, I have found sellers offering the pure chloroquine, likely for medical people that are able to create the preparations with the right proportions and sale them.

Coronavirus chloroquine
Coronavirus chloroquine

I was not able to find any offer related to other official drugs that government ate testing to cure Coronavirus infections.

I’ll continue to monitor the offer in the dark web related to coronavirus … stay tuned.

My Italian friends and reader could see my interview on the topic, let me thank the journalist Andrea Lattanzi:

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Coronavirus Dark Web)

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