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Reporter Claims to Find €5 Greek Passports on the Darknet

According to a Eleftheros Typos, a well-known Greek newspaper, law enforcement in Greece only recently became aware of fake passports on darknet markets. The newspaper, known in English as “Free Press,” walked through the process in the Sunday print edition of the publication.

The second Silk Road, “Silk Road 2.0,” hosted various identity documents. Fake IDs and fake ID templates were a commonplace. Identification document vendors sold fake ID scans and physical fake IDs, and although less common, passports too. Real passports are much more difficult to viably sell than digital passport templates. Partially because physical versions require a great deal of work to obtain on a regular basis. And, not coincidentally, the real passports, on darknet marketplaces cost more by a substantial margin.

One fake passport listing on a darknet market—a physical passport—had an incredibly short description for a $4,000 job:

Physical European passports, permits and ID’s. Physical documents which you can use to travel. We DO NOT send pictures, the images on this listing is proof of our work. We Require partial release so by placing an order you accept these terms. You must choose the correct shipping option. We leave the order as escrow but we will request a partial release. ($850 PARTIAL RELEASE + LISTING VALUE $2980) WHICH MAKES A TOTAL OF $3830 FOR A PASSPORT. DISCOUNTS APPLY WHEN ORDERING 2 OR MORE.”

Eleftheros Typos, on June 3, featured a headline under the title “False Greek Passports sold for 5 Euros.” The author explained that the “dark internet” broke new ground in the world of criminal activity. And, since the so-called “dark internet” broke new ground, “the malicious” popularized the use of counterfeit passports.

“‘Black hackers,’ a global organized crime industry have set up encrypted web pages on the darknet,” the author claimed. There, the vendors sell Greek passports for 0.0024 BTC—roughly $6 right now. “The page states that the Greek passports are in stock, and in a very advantageous price.” He explained that vendors (or “the malicious”) offered travel documents for significantly less than “traditional distribution channels.”

The author wrote the following regarding law enforcement:

Greek authorities have never identified stolen Greek passports. […] Thus, the specific page has cause for concern. This is because this is a time when our country is on the alert in order to control the flow of foreigners for reasons related to refugees and to national security. The possibility of being able to buy a fake passport electronically while maintaining anonymity, at least to a large extent, creates a headache.”

In 2015, the Hellenic Police (the national police service of Greece), published the 2015 Report on Serious and Organized Crime [PDF]. Within that report, investigators wrote:

The continued global growth of the internet […] has become an important factor in the spread of serious and organized crime. It facilitates communication through specialized software applications between two criminal groups [such as] customers and suppliers by offering them “privacy” [through the] “Darknet” In addition, personal data that can be obtained via the Internet without the individual’s knowledge can be used to produce counterfeit or falsified documents.”

Granted, by no means does their one-time awareness of criminal activity on the darknet prove that they know about it today. They could have forgotten or been preoccupied. In all fairness, though, they kept up with Bitcoin as shown in their post about the WannaCrypt ransomware.

Posted by: C. Aliens June 21, 2017

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