Cyber security researchers on Tuesday revealed that forged Covid-19 test results and fake vaccine certificates are being offered on the Dark Web and various hacking forums from as low as US$ 25 (Rs 1,800) to US$ 250 (about Rs 18,000), for people seeking to board flights, cross borders, attend events or start new jobs.
To access fake 'vaccine passport' certificates, those interested just need to send their details and the money, and the seller on Dark Web will email back the fake documents for US$ 250. Fake negative Covid-19 test results are on sale from various sellers from just US$ 25, according to Check Point Research.
The researchers found that the dark net advertisements for Covid-19 vaccines have increased by over 300 per cent in the past three months.
"Multiple vaccine variants are also available for sale: AstraZeneca, Sputnik, SINOPHARM and Johnson & Johnson, with prices ranging between US$ 500 and US$ 1000 per dose," the report noted.
The Covid vaccine sellers are majorly based in the US and European countries including Spain, Germany, France and Russia. "The vaccines advertised include Oxford-AstraZeneca (at US$ 500), Johnson & Johnson (US$ 600), the Russian Sputnik vaccine (US$ 600) and the Chinese SINOPHARM vaccine," the researchers informed.
Only around 1 per cent of the world's population has received full course of jabs while billions are still waiting for their first dose. As a mean to prepare society for restarting tourism, flights routine and border crossing, the European Commission has proposed a vaccination certificate to be used as the ultimate 'door opener' across countries and societies.
Dark Web offers fake Covid results, vax certificates starting from INR 1,800
"The vaccination certificate, for the foreseen future, will become the passport, bilaterally agreed between countries, which will give holders an entrance ticket to, and enable them to participate in many activities (e.g. live shows, cultural activities and entrance to public areas)," the report noted.
As various societies struggle to return to pre-Covid norms, a negative COVID test result or a vaccination certificate is becoming the golden key that will unlock restrictions and enable people to move and mingle with greater freedom. "This creates an opportunity for criminals and scammers to exploit those people who are willing to risk using fake documents to achieve that freedom," the researchers said.