Overall impact of COVID-19 on DWMs

We present how COVID-19 has impacted the overall evolution of listings on dark markets. We selected all listings mentioning COVID-19 between January 2020 and July 2021, finding a total of 10,330 unique listings. We label listings depending on the content of their title, see panel (a), finding that most of the listings mentioning COVID-19 were drugs. As a consequence, other traditional DWMs products, like fake IDs, firearms, and credit cards were not impacted by COVID-19.

We delve into the temporal dynamics of drugs mentioning COVID-19. We select 4 large categories of drugs and show an overall increasing trend for the number of active listings throughout the whole period, see panel (b). In contrast, we analyse mentions of three different themes: Lockdown, Sale, and Delays. They can be used as general proxies of the indirect impact of restriction measures implemented during pandemic. By looking at the percentage of listings mentioning these three themes over time we see an overall decreasing trend, see panel (c). A finding coherent with the steady ease of restrictions.

COVID-19 has impacted a large number of listings on DWMs: vaccines, medicines, PPEs, and drugs. Our analyses unveil that dark markets posit a constant threats to the regular economy and calls for their constant and accurate monitoring.

How to cite:

Want to cite and/or use the information provided in this page? It is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 - please cite our ongoing monitoring effort as follows:

A. Bracci(+), M. Nadini(+), M. Aliapoulios, D. McCoy, I. Gray, A. Teytelboym, A. Gallo, A. Baronchelli. Dark Web Marketplaces and COVID-19: The vaccines. Preprint arXiv:2102.05470 (2021)

A. Bracci, M. Nadini, M. Aliapoulios, D. McCoy, I. Gray, A. Teytelboym, A. Gallo, A. Baronchelli. Dark Web Marketplaces and COVID-19: before the vaccine. EPJ Data Science 10.1 (2021): 1-26

(+) These authors contributed equally

Mon Aug 02 2021




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The research presented in the website is supported by the "COVID-19: Monitoring the effects of the pandemic on illicit online trade" project funded by the ESRC. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) unless otherwise specified in single posts.