In a rare move that has perhaps never been seen before, a marketplace on the dark web has banned the sale of a self-proclaimed vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a tweet from noted tech author Eileen Ormsby, Monopoly Market, a popular platform on the dark web, has banned the sale of purported vaccines for the coronavirus for Bitcoin.
— Eileen Ormsby (@EileenOrmsby) April 1, 2020
Honor Among Criminals
As the tweet showed, the market’s administrator pointed out that people who market cures for the virus will be immediately kicked out of the marketplace and should also be avoided because of the danger they pose to others.
“You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet—under no circumstances should you trust a vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle tangible/already questionable goods,” the administrator chided, adding that while it’s fine to provide discounts for drugs amid the virus’ reign of terror, the marketplace won’t be allowing anyone to profit off a purported vaccine.
Another of Ormsby’s posts shed additional light on the marketplace’s decision, with the administrator explaining that they have class and won’t be participating in any “bullshit.”
Sadly, while Monopoly Market has warned sellers to desist from marketing anything using the coronavirus, that class doesn’t exist across the board. The Independent pointed out that several dark web marketplaces have been sprawling with alleged coronavirus cures and vaccines, with people looking to take advantage of the general ignorance on the virus.
One of those sites, named Agatha, is listing such a drug for $300. As the news medium explained, the drug consists of amphetamines, cocaine, and nicotine – a combination of which could kill an average person, especially someone who isn’t used to taking drugs.
While several institutions have been working on developing a cure for the pandemic, there hasn’t been any tangible progress on the matter. Estimates reveal that it could be as long as 18 months before a suitable vaccine can be engineered.
The U.S. government has also been touting chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, two malaria drugs, as possible solutions. While the debate on whether they’re effective has been going on for weeks, reports have confirmed that their sales on dark web platforms also have spiked.
The Dark Web Booms with Activity
Apart from fake drugs and untested medications, other coronavirus-related materials have also seen spikes in their sales on the dark web. Packs of N95 and surgical masks have seen their prices skyrocket as global demand surges, and many are on the prowl looking to make a quick buck.
However, it’s also worth noting that Monopoly Market isn’t the only entity that has taken a stand against using the coronavirus to make money. Last month, popular cybersecurity blog Bleeping Computer confirmed that it had contacted seven ransomware operators concerning their plans for the virus. Two of those reportedly wrote back and confirmed that they won’t be targeting hospitals during the pandemic.
Tech research firm Digital Shadows also explained in a recent post that while many cybercriminals couldn’t care less whom they hurt, some have taken a stand and refused to profit off the death of thousands. As the company explained, some of these criminals have even discussed sharing helpful information to people on how they can stay safe – both physically and while online.