Posts from Reddit and Telegram which contain screenshots of what appears to be a Javelin anti-tank weapon being listed for sale on a supposed darknet market are being picked up by traditional media sources, both inside and outside of Russia.
The screenshot is taken from a hidden services site called THIEF that purports to be an actual darknet market. The market features a weapons section where the anti-tank missile is listed for sale as a “Javelin ATGM,” purchasable for $30,000 in Monero (XMR). The location of the supposed vendor is Kiev, capital of Ukraine.
UK publication Mirror stated in an article that the market “may be fake and part of a Russian propaganda campaign to halt the West (from) funneling arms to Ukraine’s defenders.” A Russian language news site displayed images used by the supposed market vendor on May 31st, published two days before the first reports of their use for a THIEF market vendor listing. The accompanying article purports the images came from an arms dealer located in Ukraine.
The supposed marketplace has received no mention on Dread, dark fail, or Darknetlive, which are considered to be the foremost sites for hosting links to darknet markets determined to be legitimate by experts in the community.
Signs that the market is indeed a fake include the fact that shipping prices do not correspond with weights indicated for physical items, usernames are fully visible next to feedbacks left on supposed purchases, and the fact that PayPal – a reversible and highly-scrutinized payment processor – is accepted as payment for orders on the site.
Additionally, seller locations – which include the U.S., Germany, Russia, and Ukraine – are listed by city or state — a trait not shared with most other darknet markets hosting vendors outside of the Russian-speaking world.
Other weapons supposedly offered by vendors on the site include handguns, rifles, machine guns, and grenades, which are being offered at a rate of 5 for $1,000, payable in XMR. Some of the images provided for these items appear to be stock images, easily-traceable to URLs on the clearnet (regular internet) via reverse image search.
Editor’s note: This market is in all likelihood a scam and should be avoided.