Beware of Dark Net Websites Seeking Donations for Ukrainians

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ACCORDING TO Kyiv-based cryptocurrency exchange founder Kina says more than US$26 million (RM110 million) in cryptocurrency has been raised by the Ukrainian government since the war began.

Check Point Research (CPR) researchers, who frequently scour the Dark Net, spotted several advertisements and sites, which aim to raise funds for the Ukrainian people, primarily on the basis of cryptocurrency.

The CPR investigation shows that while some of these sites are part of the Ukrainian government’s official fundraising campaign, others seem dubious and raise fears that there are once again cybercriminals behind them, taking advantage of the current crisis for fraudulent activities.

The Dark Net Playground

Although it is not illegal to access and use the Dark Net, many of the activities that take place there appear to be illegitimate sales and transactions.

During the pandemic, CPR research uncovered advertisements and mini-sites related to Corona dedicated to sellers offering everything from fake Covid-19 certificates to vaccines and test results.

In this article, CPR gives examples of advertisements found on the Dark Net, both legitimate and dubious, asking for money to help victims of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

“Marina asks for help”

The CPR came across a Dark Net (onion) web page asking for donations for “Marina”. A brief description states that “Marina” and her children are trying to flee Ukraine due to the “very bad situation” and are asking for money, to be given in cryptocurrency. The appeal also states, “Every piece helps.”

While the attached QR codes are addresses of cryptocurrency wallets, a quick check shows that the site’s main image appears to be from a newspaper article from a German international news outlet called Deutsche Welle. No other information is provided, which raises questions about the overall authenticity and legitimacy of the page.

Cryptocurrency is now a legit central coin

A quick scan of more websites on the Dark Net shows more mini-sites with donation requests. Some redirect to a government’s legitimate official site, appealing for funds, but some link to either empty links or empty pages. Some sites link to what appear to be fraudulent websites.

“Defend Ukraine” with crypto donations

Some of the sites referenced on the Dark Net actually point to reliable sites. One of the most notable is a website calling on people to “help the Ukrainian army and its wounded, as well as the families and children caught up in the developing conflict.”

He also refers to the “Defend Ukraine” Twitter account. The domain was registered on February 16, a week before the start of the war in Ukraine. The site itself is simple and contains a list of different organizations and non-governmental organizations in Ukraine, as well as cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT.

In times of crisis and dire circumstances, like this war, there is always a proliferation of cyber criminals trying to take advantage of the situation, causing an increase in fraudulent activities.

In a recent report, the CPR published data on the increase in cyberattacks that researchers have observed since the start of the war. Attacks on the Ukrainian government and its military sector increased by 196% in the first three days of fighting. Unsurprisingly, attackers are now finding their way to the Dark Net in search of new offensive activity.

Beware of where you send your money

The CPR urges potential donors looking to help Ukrainians, and in general, and anyone donating for any cause, to be wary of the links they go to and the websites they use to send donations. ‘money. The Dark Net is generally not the right platform for fundraising unless you are tech savvy and know how to go about it.

CPR teams are continuously monitoring the evolving situation for additional potential threats that may surface and will be updated accordingly.

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