Dark web criminals are jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon by offering deals and discount codes on drugs, fake ID and stolen data, say experts.
The annual discounting has become a major event for legitimate businesses and it now appears to have filtered down to the online underworld.
“We’ve seen the same strategies that online retailers and physical retailers use, being used in these criminal markets,” said James Chappell, co-founder of online security firm Digital Shadows.
“We see them used either to provide discounts, ‘stack ’em high and sell ’em cheap’ type strategies, and we’ve seen the same with discount codes, introductions, building up excitement before the event, adverts that entice and enthuse.”
UK criminals make more from selling drugs online than anywhere else in Europe, according to a report this week from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
It said there were £24m of sales in 2017/18.
Sky News also reported on how social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are increasingly being used to sell illegal drugs.
Last month, the National Crime Agency’s director of investigations Nikki Holland also said she would like to invest more in fighting illegal activity on the dark web.
The dark web is accessed using special browsers and offers a high degree of anonymity.
It has gained a notorious reputation for its association with criminality – including paedophilia, weapons sales and stolen data – but it also hosts harmless, legal content.
Back in the legal world of Black Friday deals, consumer groups warned this week that many of the offers are not as good as they seem and are cheaper at other times of the year.