Singapore — As the anti-vaccination movement has gained a foothold in many countries, even while tighter restrictions are imposed for non-vaccinated individuals, some have resorted to forging cards and certificates, presumably to travel, maybe even to work.
These documents that verify one’s vaccination status do not come cheap, and in Singapore, they can set you back as much as $400, according to a Coconuts report.
In Thailand, they cost around a quarter of that price, and in Malaysia, even less.
In Europe, however, where most of the fake certificates are from, they ranged in price from about $335 half a year ago, but have since come down to around $130.
According to a report last month from Check Point Research, an IT company in Israel, these forged vaccination cards, certificates or passports are commonly found on the dark web.
“Our researchers now see an exponent growth in volumes of followers and subscribers to groups and channels offering and advertising COVID19 certifications and other means to bypass the need to physically get the vaccine, while ‘enjoy’ the benefits of vaccinated population.
These benefits might include boarding planes, accessing cultural and crowded events, getting work etc’.
The advertisements specifically state that the seller “provide registered vaccine certificates…for all those who don’t want to take the vaccine,” Check Point said recently.
Would-be buyers of the forged documents simply need to indicate what country they are from, and what type of documentation they want.
They are told by many advertisers that these are “verified.”
Sellers then say they’ll contact buyers through Telegram, WhatsApp or email, adding that they’re allowed to pay either by PayPal and Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin/ monero, doge coin and others).
Check Point also warned people that the Darknet is, for all intents and purposes, the black market of the internet, where drugs, cyber-weapons, forgeries and other illegal items are bought and sold.
“We recommend people not to engage with sellers publishing on such groups or marketplaces published in the Darknet,” the report said.
It added that “Every country should internally manage a central repository of tests and vaccinated people, which can and should securely be shared between relevant authorized only bodies within the country.”
Check Point also said that all ‘green passes’ and vaccination certificates should be kept securely and allow a QR code that can be scanned and authenticated.
“Countries should cooperate to share info regarding such data and create a secured repository with encryption keys, to allow people to roam using legit only certifications and to be able to detect forged and fake ones,” the Israeli firm added. /TISG
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