A passport to freedom? Fake COVID-19 test results and vaccination certificates offered on Darknet and hacking forums

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This post was originally published by Checkpoint.

Check Point Research highlights new trend of forged negative COVID-19 test results and fake vaccine certificates offered on the Darknet and various hacking forums for people seeking to board flights, cross borders, attend events or start new jobs.

  • Fake ‘vaccine passport’ certificates on sale for $250 – users simply send their details and the money, and the seller emails back the fake documents
  • Fake negative COVID-19 test results on sale from various sellers from just $25
  • Darknet advertisements for COVID-19 vaccines have increased by over 300% in past three months
  • Multiple vaccine variants for sale: AstraZeneca, Sputnik, SINOPHARM and Johnson & Johnson, with prices ranging between $500 and $1000 per dose.

While the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations continues to accelerate, it’s worth remembering that only around 1% of the world’s population have received their full course of injections. Billions are still waiting for their first dose, which inevitably leads those people to question exactly when they will get it.  Especially as plans are being made internationally to allow those that have been vaccinated, or can prove they have had a recent negative test, the freedom to travel to other countries, attend large-scale events, take a new job, and more.

So there’s a strong and growing demand for vaccinations and test results because of the greater freedoms they will give to people.  And of course, there will always be people who don’t want to wait for their official vaccination, or for an official negative test result – and shady people willing to service that demand.  Back in January, we reported how there were hundreds of advertisements on the dark net were advertising COVID-19 vaccines for sale from $500 – and now the number of adverts has more than tripled to over 1,200.  Further, vendors are also offering a range of fake vaccination certificates and negative test results to people who need proof of either.

In this report we show the latest updates on the sharp increase in adverts for COVID-19 vaccines from the Darknet.  We also show several examples of how negative COVID-19 test results are being offered to buyers who are willing to pay for them, with examples of these custom-made documents that appear authentic and genuine.

In addition, we show examples of vaccination ‘certificates’, being manufactured, created and printed to order, ready to be used to enable people to board planes, cross borders or for any relevant activity that requires a person to give proof that they have been vaccinated.

Darknet adverts for COVID-19 vaccines spike

As we previously reported, a range of counterfeit coronavirus vaccines are offered, often touted from just $500 per dose. In recent weeks our researchers have spotted an increasing amount of advertisements for vaccines within Darknet markets:  currently numbering over 1,200, with sellers based in the U.S. and European countries including Spain, Germany, France and Russia.  This represents over a 300% increase since January 2021. The vaccines advertised include Oxford – AstraZeneca (at $500), Johnson & Johnson ($600), the Russian Sputnik vaccine ($600) and the Chinese SINOPHARM vaccine.

Read more here: https://blog.checkpoint.com/

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