Fake Covid vaccine, test certificate market growing: Research

London, May 17 (IANS): Israel-based researchers have found an online market of fake vaccine and test certificates with over 1,200 vendors in the UK and worldwide on dark web and on instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram and Jabber. The vendors on these platforms sell false documents for $25, the media reported.

Researchers from the cybersecurity firm Check Point found evidence of forgeries of vaccine cards issued by the UK National Health Service and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fake test certificates and products claimed to be Covid vaccines, the Guardian reported on Sunday.

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From about 20 dark web vendors in November last year, the number grew to 600 in January and more than 1,200 by March, the researchers found.

The majority of people caught in the UK with fake negative Covid test certificates were from poorer nations, including African, South American and Asian countries, a Border Force official was quoted as saying to the Guardian.

Besides, anti-vaxxers -- individuals who refuse to take the vaccine on the grounds of baseless conspiracy theories and spread dangerous disinformation - also buy the forged certificates, Liad Mizrachi, senior researcher at Check Point, said.

The researchers noted that in the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, darknet produced the masks, the protective equipment, and later drugs were also on sale. Initially the Chinese-made Sinovac and Russian-produced Sputnik jabs were offered, later Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were also offered in the darknet.

"As at March, vendors were supplying from all the countries in Europe -- Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden a (plus) Mexico, Australia," said Oded Vanunu, head of product vulnerability research at Check Point.

"After vaccinations, the next step was the certificates and negative tests," he added.

The researchers said individuals who proudly post images of themselves holding the cards on social media unwittingly provide the source for forgeries. Without an official global database recording individuals' vaccination status, the system will be open to fakes and forgery, Vanunu said.



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Comment on this article

  • Sameer, Riyadh

    Mon, May 17 2021

    Nobody can be better than us in India. We faked Remdisivir itself and filled it with salt water. The person who receives it won't need vaccine, medicine...nothing at all. Straight to 'Ganga'

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dev, Mangalore

    Mon, May 17 2021

    When the disease or pandemic itself is fake all these fake things follow. Ours is now biggest Feku Land.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, May 17 2021

    No wonder the world has stopped trusting us after 2014 ...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • John Tauro, M'lore

    Mon, May 17 2021

    Fake test and vaccination certificates are being sold in Europe, US and Australia, not yet in India. In our country it's hoarding and black marketing of essential medicines and oxygen cylinders.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Report Abuse

  • Rahul, Managalore

    Mon, May 17 2021

    What we can expect from the people more than this when a county is ruined by fake news IT cell from the ruling party. when they got same treatment from others they will send arrest warrant for others.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jayanth, Bangalore

    Mon, May 17 2021

    Where is India Mentioned in this report ?

    DisAgree [7] Agree [6] Report Abuse

  • Veer, Nagpur

    Mon, May 17 2021

    FYI, our govt is one step ahead distributing fake Remdesivir vaccine not meant for covid and useless non functioning ventilators supposed to be PM CARES Fund. About oxygen in cylinders yet to be ascertained what gas is inside cylinders????????..... So in this case what is the need for fake or real certificates with present Indian govt where there is no reality in its own medicine and medical aids???????.......

    DisAgree Agree [6] Report Abuse

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