Immunization requirements for travellers or workers have resulted in the development of a black market of Covid-19 vaccination certificates on the Internet, the Buenos Aires daily Crónica reported Monday.
Desperate or naive buyers were willing to pay up to US $ 120 for each of these forged documents, the news article detailed.
The number of ads on the dark network (Darknet) offering vaccines and false immunization certificates grew by 100% in August this year, compared to previous months, said Crónica, citing cybersecurity experts.
The latest report from Check Point Research (CPR), the Threat Intelligence division of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd., conducted in August 2021, showed that fake vaccine passport certificates were for sale for between US $ 100 and US $ 120 on Darknet, with most sellers from European countries.
Fake digital COVID certificates from the European Union, CDC and NHS vaccine cards, and bogus PCR tests were also available. The number of ad groups and their sizes have increased 100% since the beginning of 2021.
In December 2020, cybersecurity experts discovered hundreds of advertisements on the Darknet offering fake vaccines, a 400% increase of ad circulation compared to previous months.
By March 2021, as COVID-19 vaccines became more available, so did their black market counterpart, with ads reaching over 1,200 from suppliers in the United States and European countries such as Spain, Germany, France, and Russia. Fake vaccine passport prices were US $ 250 each, while false-negative PCR test results cost the just US $ 25 each, the report went on.
In August 2021, fake PCR tests became available from around 1,000 suppliers and in just one month there are over 10,000 of them, the publication pointed out.
According to the report, investigators in Austria have discovered a Telegram bot that creates fake certificates for free. All you have to do is fill in the relevant details and a pdf file will be shared with you with all your complete data in a negative PCR test.
The article also advises readers that genuine health-related certificates are not sold on the Internet and anyone offering them was doing it illegally. Hence, cybersecurity experts advise against engaging in these types of transactions. At the same time, these experts have pointed out each country should manage all green passes and vaccination certificates through encrypted mechanisms as well as through a QR code which that can be scanned for authentication purposes.
Countries should cooperate and share information regarding such data and create a secure repository with encryption keys to allow people to roam using only legitimate certifications and to detect counterfeits, the article went on.