As the vaccination process continues to gain momentum in various parts of the world, a new trend has emerged on the dark web. Fake vaccination documents reportedly sell for about $ 250. These bogus documents allow buyers to impersonate vaccinated individuals who can now freely travel to various parts of the world despite closing restrictions.
A new report from Check Point Investigation has highlighted the trend of false negative COVID-19 test results and fake vaccine certificates offered on the Darknet and various hacking forums. They are reportedly bought by people looking to board flights, cross borders, attend events and start new jobs.
Fake documents run the risk of transmitting the virus to more people across the country’s borders. People who buy and misuse these false documents continue to put their lives and those around them in danger.
What are these ‘fake vaccine passports’?
The documents offered in these forums use the template derived from an original vaccination certificate. The counterfeiters then use the buyers’ data to create fake vaccination documents which are then sent to the buyers.
Buyers are free to use these fake documents in their digital or printed formats to convince the authorities that they have been vaccinated, making them eligible to travel abroad. In addition to fake vaccination documents, fake COVID-19 test results are also available for prices around $ 25.
The report also indicates that Darknet ads for COVID-19 vaccines have increased by more than 300% in the last three months. Also, fake vaccination documents are available for several different vaccines, one of which is probably in use in purchasing countries. Options to choose from for buyers include AstraZeneca, Sputnik, SINOPHARM, and Johnson & Johnson.
“Buy 2 fake certificates and get the third one for free”
As the fake vaccination scandal has grown into a quick money-making scheme for many people, various counterfeiters have come into play to provide these bogus documents. As a result, competing counterfeiters have even devised schemes to attract buyers.
One such scheme that is outlined in the report is offering a third fake document for free when you buy two fake documents. “We do negative COVID tests, for travelers abroad, to get a job, etc. Everything is done in 24 hours, without great guarantees,” reads a piracy forum.
Awareness against false documents
Amid the false documents scandal, it is crucial for people to understand that by using such bogus measures to mislead authorities, they are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also those of the people around them, including members of his family. Here are some ways that fake documents can be countered.
People should be on the lookout for indicators of authenticity in documents, such as misspellings, mistakes, poor-quality logos, and errors in terminology (for example, ‘crown disease’ or ‘the covid epidemic’). Each country must internally manage a central repository of tests and vaccinated individuals, which can be securely shared among the relevant authorized bodies within the country, according to Check Point.
Other recommendations from the cybersecurity firm include: All vaccination population and test data must be digitally signed with encrypted keys. Airports, border guards, and any official enforcement agent must have the ability to scan a QR or barcode code (which is digitally signed) on the certificate. The code should be linked to a secure repository that can validate the authenticity of the document and whether the name on it received the vaccine or was actually tested for COVID and returned (negative).
In the future, countries should be able to share digitally signed data to allow certificate holders to move and cross borders safely. For example, Greece and Israel have already agreed to recognize each other’s vaccination certificates (also known as “green passports”).