Hunting the coronavirus in the dark web

Pierluigi Paganini February 27, 2020

Let me share with you the result of a one-night long analysis of major black marketplaces searching for anything related to the coronavirus epidemic.

Recently I have received many questions from journalists and colleagues about the activity in the dark web related to the coronavirus epidemic, here you are what I have found digging in the major black marketplaces.

Immediately following the outbreak of the number of coronavirus infections worldwide, certain goods became victims of looting and financial speculation. Let’s think of the request for masks to avoid contagion and disinfectant products, both product categories soon became impossible to find in the markets and their prices online spiked.

I have visited some of the most prolific hacking communities and marketplaces (i.e. Dream Alt Market, Empire Market, Square Market), below some of the offers I have found in their listings.



The availability of masks is fueled by occasional vendors who try to make money exploiting the panic of the population. I analyzed the sellers offering these products and I have that most of them have no important history to the sale on the relative marketplaces. Each seller hasn’t sold more than a few tens of products.
Another interesting aspect of my research to the prices of the products, each mask is available for sale at prices ranging from 5 to over 60 euros, and only in a few cases, the sellers are 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.


corona virus is developing into one of the most dangerous viruses in the history of mankind of people are isolated and the virus continues unchecked… is no medicine against it only your own body can
incubation period is 14 days that means there are probably hundreds of thousands of infected people spread all over the world already…
help your immune system and Endocanabinoid system you should take one of our THC Capsules daily… are full to bursting activated marijuana (Black Jack) and thus ready for help your body in your immune system and ramp up the Endocannabinoid system and give you a better chance of recovery … act fast we have started to produce these capsules day and night since yesterday don’t know what’s on us so… , we have to say they are only available while stocks last… You can find these capsules in our shop…
take care of yourself” reads the advertisement for the capsules.

I have also searched for phishing kits or phishing-as-a-services that could be used to send out coronavirus-themed spam messages, but at the time there are no specific offers for this kind of service.

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

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, coronavirus)

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