Disruption on Darkweb Markets Due to the World Pandemic

If you have experienced some issues in the deliveries of drugs ordered on the darkweb during the pandemic, you should know that you are not alone. Researchers have investigated the data generated through drugroutes.com and discovered a change in the number of issues.

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For background on DrugRoutes: Canadian Researchers Release Tool to Identify Successful Drug Routes

Drugroutes (drugroutes.com and 4h635ssto4t7ryhqyb4z4kax57f7iheoz7gg62ufp7dp6w3j67bjdhyd.onion) is a tool developed to survey drug buyers and vendors about their experience when purchasing drugs on the darkweb. It asks drug users what type of drug they purchased online and most importantly, if they receive their orders, had issues (ex. unusually long delivery, an error in the type, quantity or concentration of the drug) or never received it.

To identify potential disruptions in darkweb drug supply, the researchers analyzed the 262 user-generated submissions on the DrugRoutes.com website. The figure below shows the distribution of the three shipment statuses over time.

Success rate in darkweb drug delivery around the world over time

The results show that at the start, successful deliveries represent the majority of transaction, that is, between 60% and 100%. Then, they observe larger disruptions of online illicit markets at the time when Western countries including the United States and the United Kingdom started imposing lockdowns measures (indicated by the red line). Starting on March 21, the deliveries with issues begin to go up and reached 36%. During this time, the deliveries that were never received reached 46%. At the peak of the disruption, the successful deliveries represented only 21% of all the transactions.

The issues begin to go down when China started lifting the lockdown measures imposed following the spread of COVID-19. Starting on April 8, the number of failed deliveries dropped to 11% and a few days earlier, the issues in deliveries dropped to 0%.

The findings suggest that the flow of darkweb drugs has been disrupted over the past weeks at the same time as COVID-19. The researchers say that they will look at those data closely in the next months and would like to thank everybody how shared their experience on DrugRoutes. You can still participate by submitting your successful and unsuccessful transactions.