Illegal trading on the dark market has become commonplace today. The dark web is a illegal and illicit freemarket that allows people to pay through cryptocurrencies (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum, USD Coin, XRP, and Litecoin) in order to obfuscate transactions and avoid the paper trail of the banking system. The anonymity of perpetrators and obfuscation of payment establishes a dark market economy by enabling the trade of illegal goods and services.
This blog post will shed a light on various factors of the dark market economy, such as types of markets on the dark web, prices of goods in the dark market, and sale of the covid-19 vaccine in the dark market. Here is some help!
Types of Markets on the Dark Web
There are two types of markets on the dark web – namely Vendor Shops and Cryptomarkets. We will describe each of them in the subsequent sections.
Like legal online markets such as Amazon or Ali Express, cryptomarkets also allow users to create accounts to access home pages of dark sites. These sites have predefined categories into which sellers categorize their listings. In fact, listings enable buyers to immediately find the type of service or product they want to buy. To further their anonymity, some sellers will encrypt their communication with customers using Pretty Good Privacy (PGP); a protocol for encrypting and hiding their communications.
Vendor shops are also referred to as Single-vendor Markets. These shops are established by individuals or organizations to sell their services and products. Cryptomarkets support transactions but vendors avoid taking their assistance due to commissions on sales and financial risk posed by cryptomarket’s exit scams on escrows. Unlike cryptomarkets, vendor shops have fewer listings because these markets host individual vendors who specialize in particular products or services.
Prices of Goods in the Dark Market
Prices of goods in the dark market are lower than the prices in traditional, conventional marketplaces on the internet. Constella 2021 Identity Breach Report listed the average prices of records for sale in the dark markets. Below are the details:
• Passports ($684)
• ID Cards ($213)
• Driver Licenses ($206)
• Credit cards ($81)
• SSNs ($23)
Researchers noticed a change in the prices of goods between 2019 and 2020. The following screenshot shows the change in prices and percentages between these years:
Constella noted that threat actors capitalized on the health crisis in the world. A massive increase in prices was identified for passports (+1,185%), ID cards (+643%), driver’s licenses (+329%), and credit cards (+91%).
In addition, people can access the shadow economy on the Dark Web Marketplaces (DWMs) through specialized browsers such as TOR. In 2011, the first DWM was established with the name – Silk Road, but it was closed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2013.
Sale of Covid-19 Vaccine in the Dark Market
Kaspersky cybersecurity firm reported a big sale of Covid-19 vaccines in the DWMs. All major types of vaccines are being offered for sale that includes Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca. A single dose of the vaccine is sold for $250 to $1200, averaging approximately $500. Sellers communicate with customers through Telegram and Wickr and they mostly belong to the USA, UK, France, and Germany. The following screenshot demonstrates the advertisement selling the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for $500 (full dose):
The Bottom Line (Conclusion)
A dark market is a place where everything from firearms to military intelligence, child pornography to life saving medicine is bought and sold. Dark markets flourish and survive through anonymity and obfuscated transactions that make it one of the biggest economies. In this era of health crises, Covid-19 vaccines are being offered on the dark market. People use cryptocurrencies to stay protected and unnoticed. Despite strict rules and regulations against cybercrimes, the dark web has become a home of the modern-day syndicate.