Journalists get scammed trying to buy an AK47 in the Dark Web

Pierluigi Paganini May 22, 2016

Producers from the German broadcaster ARD have conducted an interesting experiment to demonstrate how to buy a weapon on the dark web.

When journalists write about the black markets hosted on the dark web always describe these places as crucial aggregators where it is possible to buy any kind of illegal product and service. A keyboard, a few bitcoins, and a couple of clicks allows anyone to buy a weapon or any kind of chemical drug. Is it true?

The dark web is the reign of scammers too, many sellers claim to have products that will send to buyers, even when they have paid for it.

Producers from the German broadcaster ARD have conducted an interesting experiment to demonstrate if it is really so simple to buy goods on the dark web. He tried to buy an AK-47 rifle, aka Kalašnikov and paid $800 worth of bitcoin.

The German journalists conducted an investigation for a show titled “Fear of terror—how vulnerable is Germany” with the intent to understand how criminals could access weapons offered for sale in the black markets.

The German channel ARD documented the threat posed by terrorism trying to explain how terrorists could exploit the technology for its activities.

“There is this experiment at the beginning of the broadcast.#Beckmann Ordered via middleman a Kalashnikov in the darknet.At the end comes out: $ 800 paid – and get nothing.” reported the German site Focus.

“Because, as a customs expert, it is not so easy to procure weapons.Sounds weird, but is so.Only that this #Beckmann not nearly as informative as “The program with the mouse”.

At the beginning of the show, host Reinhold Beckmann instructed a third party to buy an AK-47 rifle. The journalist also asked to the head of the German Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office) if it is really possible to find weapons online and he confirmed that black markets are the right places where to buy them.

The Beckmann attempt to buy a weapon failed, but it is not clear if the package had been intercepted by law enforcement or it the seller was a scammer.

ak 47 dark web Black Market

Such kind of problems are not rare in the black marketplaces, in November Joseph Cox from MotherBoard wrote an interesting article to explain the difficulty acquiring a weapon from the dark web.

“One impetus for that is the heavy presence of scammers, who create fake accounts to dupe gullible gun hunters out of their money.” wrote Cox.

“I’m just kinda addicted to the scamming part. It’s too easy,” one scammer told Motherboard in an email chat. The scammer used to operate under the handle “Bartsmit” on AlphaBay, a popular market that sells stolen data, weapons, and drugs, among other goods. Today the scammer is still ripping people off, but under a different identity.”

Due to these difficulties, several black markets have stopped stocking weapons altogether.

In July 2105, one of the most popular black markets, Agorastopped selling guns as announced in a statement published by the site administrators:

“Starting from July 15th 2015 Agora will no longer list lethal weapons.
Following our mission we wish such objects would be available for purchase, but the current reality of it is that the format of a market like ours does not constitute a good way to do it. Shipping weapons is hard, they are expensive and stimulate both scamming by dishonest vendors and honeypot listings by agencies looking to find buyers who might wish to obtain such weapons illegally from us.”

Law enforcement warns of a growing number of scammers that operate in the weapon trade in the dark web, on the other side many operators of black markets blame authorities for infiltrating this specific trade.

If you appreciate my effort in spreading cyber security awareness, please vote for Security Affairs as best European Security Blog. Vote SecurityAffairs in every section it is reported. I’m one of the finalists and I want to demonstrate that the Security Affairs community a great reality.

Thank you


[adrotate banner=”9″]

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – dark Web, weapon)

you might also like

leave a comment