University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Security Seminar > Dark web marketplaces and COVID-19: Flexible and resilient

Dark web marketplaces and COVID-19: Flexible and resilient

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  • UserAndrea Baronchelli, City University of London and The Alan Turing Institute
  • ClockTuesday 23 March 2021, 14:00-15:00
  • HouseWebinar.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Jack Hughes.

This talk focuses on two aspects of dark web marketplaces (DWMs). (1) It investigates how DWMs reacted to COVID -19. The analysis of millions of listings from 102 DWMs identified 788 listings directly related to COVID -19 products and monitor the temporal evolution of product categories including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medicines (e.g., hydroxyclorochine), and medical frauds, as well as 33 vaccine listings. In general supply of COVID -19 related goods on DWMs reacts either to shortages in the economy or to public attention, and in particular to misinformation. (2) It clarifies how the DWM ecosystem can be resilient despite the intrinsic weaknesses of individual markets. It analyses 24 separate episodes of unexpected marketplace closure by inspecting 133 million Bitcoin transactions among 38 million users, focusing on “migrating users” who move their trading activity to a different marketplace after a closure. It shows that most migrating users continue their trading activity on a single coexisting marketplace, typically the one with the highest trading volume. User migration is swift and trading volumes of migrating users recover quickly. Thus, although individual marketplaces might appear fragile, coordinated user migration guarantees overall systemic resilience.

REFERENCES
  • Dark Web Marketplaces and COVID -19: Before the vaccine. EPJ Data Science 10 (1), 6 (2021)
  • Dark Web Marketplaces and COVID -19: The vaccines. Preprint arXiv:2102.05470 (2021)
  • Collective dynamics of dark web marketplaces. Scientific Reports 10 (1), 1-8 (2020).

RECORDING : Please note, this event will be recorded and will be available after the event for an indeterminate period under a CC BY -NC-ND license. Audience members should bear this in mind before joining the webinar or asking questions.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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