Many darknet markets offered romantic deals for buyers on Valentine’s Day earlier this month.
On various sites such as Dream Market, vendors listed all sorts of items that include pink-dyed cocaine, cakes that are infused with drugs, red heart ecstasy tablets and even Valentine’s Day-related hacking deals.
In order to make themselves a better competitor amongst other sellers, vendors on the dark web recycle methods that are used by traditional retailers, like putting forward sales and deals on major holidays for consumers.
‘Date Night’ Package
Researchers have tracked movement on the dark web in recent years and found that a surge exists in spending on Valentine’s Day.
Emily Wilson, a researcher at cybersecurity firm Terbium Labs, stumbled upon one especially striking deal which offered a “Date Night” package consisting of a free pizza scam guide and stolen credentials for Uber and Netflix.
Other bundles involved counterfeit jewelry, drugs and even account credentials for adult content sites.
Even the fraud economy uses the holidays to offer fraudulent information, regardless of the nonapparent link between the two.
Wilson said that the holidays are a chance for the vendors to attract new customers and move out old stock, just like any other legitimate business.
One of the items found on a popular darknet market was an extensive collection of hacked information in a holiday sale pack sold by an Australian seller, which allows buyers to make fraudulent bank accounts.
Wilson stated that there is a much bigger issue behind Valentine’s Day sales and sales that revolve around other holidays—illegal substances and stolen data sold on the dark web are so broadly accessible that sellers have to offer discounts in order to stay competitive.
The proof of how well-established these marketplaces really are is the participation of the vendors in standard sales and marketing tactics, Wilson added.
Data that is repeatedly compromised is just a standard part of doing business for the sellers, who are focusing on how to capture more market share among their counterparts.
Holiday Sales Has Been a Trend Among Darknet Markets
The discounts that darknet vendors offer during the holidays are becoming a standard practice.
Customers on the dark web seem to get the same holiday shopping fever as the customers on the surface web.
U.S. News reported on the trend during Black Friday sales a few years ago.
In the report, one vendor had listed five pills of prescription stimulant Adderall free of charge with every order and mentioned that these deals are no longer available the day after Black Friday.
Another vendor on the now-defunct AlphaBay Market wrote that customers should not have to wait for Cyber Monday and that they wanted to thank the community by gifting cocaine and crystal meth for 20% off.
Business Insider also wrote about holiday deals involving “Fullz,” which include personal details such as email addresses and related passwords, billing information, credit card numbers and even one person’s maiden name.
The package effectively consists of all of the information needed to steal someone’s identity.