Lockdown Restrictions Cause Woes in the Dark Web

Online vendors are having a hard time maintaining their services during the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation is not too different for the dark web vendors.

What is happening

It has been discovered by researchers at Trustwave that shops, supplies, and individuals in the dark web are affected as much as their open web counterparts. Virtual shelves in dark web shops are stacked with new fake products, including disinfectants, masks, and even coronavirus vaccines.

The underground situation

  • The biggest shock to the underground economy is the lack of business activity. However, most of the dark web forum members are looking for genuine information.
  • While some marketplaces are taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation, others are trying to ease the stress of lockdown.
  • In other segments, stolen credit card shops seem to suffer from the lack of fresh data as sellers are cross-posting the same cards to multiple shops.

What the experts are saying

  • Money laundering services are worsening their terms and conditions related to payment and withdrawal. However, it is not expected to impact demand.
  • Since the start of February, more than 80,000 registered domains have been found to contain words such as Corona, COVID, quarantine, and Wuhan, some of which are being used for malicious purposes. 
  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked the acceleration of digitization of the economy, data theft and cyberattacks as major global threats.

Worth noting

  • Although the research by Trustwave paints the underground community in a humanizing way, there are others who are trying to take advantage of this situation to the maximum extent.
  • Users are offered a ‘coronavirus update’ on whether they can get a refund for their orders as a plot to steal their credentials by making them log in to phishing pages.

In essence

Just like the open web, operators on the dark web have also been impacted by the ongoing global pandemic. Though there is a decline in certain malicious activities, cybercriminals continue to target online users with new attack techniques based on current affairs. Thus, information posted online should always be taken with a pinch of salt, especially if not posted by official sources.