Check Point Research (CPR), the Threat Intelligence division of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) has observed a trend on the Darknet where advertisements are posted asking for donations to help Ukrainians. Although some are legitimate, many on the contrary are fraudulent. All the examples found ask for donations in cryptocurrencies.
The Darknet is a section of the Internet that is not visible to search engines and is accessed using anonymous browsers. Researchers warn users not to make donations to Ukraine through it, as cybercriminals are looking to quickly cash in on high interest in the conflict with Russia.
According to the founder of the Kyiv-based cryptocurrency exchange Kina, the Ukrainian government has raised more than $26 million worth of crypto since the start of the war. Researchers at Check Point Research, who frequently scan the Darknet, have spotted several advertisements and web pages that aim to raise money for the Ukrainian people, mostly in the form of cryptocurrencies. The investigation carried out shows that while some of these sites are part of the official fundraising campaign of the Ukrainian government, others appear to be suspicious and promoted by cybercriminals who are taking advantage of the current crisis to carry out fraudulent activities.
Although it is not illegal to access and use the Darknet, many of the activities that take place on it are illegitimate sales and transactions. During the pandemic, CPR investigations uncovered Coronavirus-related advertisements and small websites offering everything from fake COVID certificates to fake vaccines or test results. Now, researchers have found examples of ads on this network, both legitimate and questionable, asking for money to help war victims.