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Fake Covid-19 vaccines are being sold on the Dark Web, with sales soaring at an alarming rate.
The UK's mass roll-out programme is well under way after two coronavirus vaccines have been ordered by the Government.
More than seven million Brits have so far received either the Oxford/AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
However, with the roll-out plan focusing on those most vulnerable and frontline workers initially, many will not receive the vaccine for a few months at least.
And now fake vaccines are being flogged on the Dark Web to eager Brits who are keen to jump the queue as the virus mutates.
Without any parental controls, accessing the Dark Web could be easy for teenagers, making it even more dangerous when vendors claim to sell the jab.
Oded Vanunu, Head of Product Research at Check Point Technologies, said: "Getting on to the Dark Web is easy..
"Once a user is there, it’s easy to find a vendor, there are dozens of adverts for vaccines, and of course there are no parental controls."
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The average price of the illegally sold vaccine has increased from $250 (£180) to $500-$1,000 (£360-£720), according to Check Point Software Technologies.
The cyber security solutions company even placed an order via the Telegram app to the vendor after finding contact details from a dark net forum.
During their research they were offered a $750 Chinese vaccine and were only allowed to pay with Bitcoin.
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After placing the order a few days later the vendor said it had been shipped – however the vaccine was never delivered, and the vendor's account was deleted.
Researcher Oded Vanunu said: "The Dark Web's vendors are looking to exploit peoples’ fears and anxiety while they have to wait for the Governments in their local countries to roll out their vaccine programs."
Mr Vanunu also discussed the possibility of vendors accessing shipment to get hold of the real vaccine.
He said: "Organised crime gangs have proven capable of intercepting shipments of valuable goods on many previous occasions, so I would think it is possible."
Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the pandemic with sales for the vaccine soaring by 400% since December 2020.
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Last month a CloudSek researcher also attempted to buy the "coronavirus vaccine" developed by Israel.
In a published conversation between the seller and the researcher, the vendor claims the vaccine had been tested and confirmed.
The seller also stated a 20ml vial of the vaccine costs $10 and only orders of 100+ vials will be shipped.
When called out for the use of a stock image of the vaccine they claimed to be selling, the vendor replied with: "We have so many to ship. We are not begging or convincing if you are interested you pay and we proceed. If you are not ready, keep your money. Thanks.”
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