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So real COVID-19 vaccines are being sold on the dark web

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky recently said close to 30% of COVID-19 vaccine doses sold on the dark web are real

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Vials containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Utah.

Vials containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

COVID-19 vaccines are being sold on the dark web right now, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky recently said. And close to one-third of them are real doses.

What’s going on?

The cybersecurity firm Kaspersky said recently that there are sellers on 15 different “dark web” marketplaces that have released hundreds of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The researchers said close to 30% of the vaccines are real ones. They’re just being sold through the “dark web” — the hidden version of the internet, which has been used before for selling medications and illegal drugs.

  • “There is evidence that suggests some of these sellers are providing real doses,” said Dmitry Galov, a researcher at Kaspersky who led the study, according to CBS News. “There are pictures of packaging and medical certificates. It looks like some of these people do have inside access to medical institutions.”

These vaccines are not cheap, either. They’re selling for close to $1,200 per dose, according to CBS News. All the sales are being done through cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Sellers are in the United States and Europe.

Bigger picture

The dark web — also referred to as the “darknet”— has been a marketplace for illegal drugs for years now, as theDeseret News reported. The rise of the dark web has presented a new problem for law enforcement, too.

“This is a revolutionary thing,” Maia Szalavitz, author of a book on addiction called “Unbroken Brain,” told the Deseret News. “This is going to upend things in ways we can’t predict. In the old model you had cartels who had to grow poppies, process them into heroin, ship them across the border, have the corner boys out on the streets dealing. Now you’ve eliminated all that. You can just call a Chinese lab and they can make you a compound easily.”