Black market for fake vaccine certificates reaches new peaks, while Delta variant keeps spreading globally

Check Point Research continues to monitor the dark marketplace in which COVID 19 Vaccine certifications are sold to anyone willing to pay. Prices have reduced, now ranging between $100-120. Darknet advertisements for COVID-19 vaccines have increased and groups advertising selling certificates contain sometimes up to 450K people.

  • Fake ‘vaccine passport’ certificates on sale for $100-120
  • Majority of the fake certificates sold from European countries
  • Also on sale: The EU Digital COVID certificate, CDC and NHS Covid vaccine cards and fake PCR COVID-19 Tests
  • Volume of advertisement groups and groups sizes publishing sellers multiplied by hundreds percent since the beginning of 2021

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic is here and apparently never left, and furthermore- it seems it does not show signs of wearing off or slowing down.

As of the beginning of August, there have been reports of 623K new cases daily, with 4.43B doses of vaccines given around the globe, which makes 15.4% of the world’s population fully vaccinated.

While the time for summer vacations is here, people are seeking ways of getting to such vacations, and this becomes a very complicated task.

In Singapore, government has decided to relax restrictions in 2 phases this month. Italy introduced a new digital health certificate, which allows holders to access cultural and gastronomic activities. Australia released details of its reopening plans, Japan extended its state of emergency in several cities, US remaining the Mexican and Canadian borders closed until at least the end of August and England suspended it’s quarantine policy for vaccinated travelers from the US and EU.

Across all continents, it is obvious that COVID vaccines are the key to this steel lock that refuses to remain free. However- vaccine skeptical population isn’t wearing down and continues to grow across continents, taking its toll and slowing the global effort to mass vaccinate the world’s population against the virus.

France is one of the most vaccine-skeptical counties, and according to a recent survey, four in ten people in France said they definitely or probably won’t get vaccinated against Covid-19.  Germany saw a massive anti-vaccine movement and reports show that about a third of American adults are resisting the vaccine.

On sale: Certificates for every country

In our previous March report, we detailed how Check Point Research observed a trend of fake ‘vaccine passports’ certificated are being sold online across the Darknet for $250, and that Darknet adverts for COVID vaccines spike to new levels.

We have mostly presented certificates being sold from the US, UK and Germany. Currently our researchers spotted fake certificates from all around the world, where the majority are coming from Europe, with certificate fakes of the NHS certificate, the EUDCC (EU Digital COVID Certificate), and other countries such as Greece, Netherlands, Italy, France and Switzerland related certifications.

Furthermore we’ve seen examples of certificates for the US, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Anti-vax movement is gaining momentum- “For all those who don’t want to take the Vaccine”

While previous reports showed sporadic, though expending, numbers of advertisements on the darknet, 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

‘We are here to save the world from this poisonous vaccine’

The channels we spotted offer the ‘service’ and even detail it’s actual impact.

“With our cards you can travel and work”.

The sellers often state that the certificates are ‘verified’ and invites the buyers to take simple steps in order to place an order- all you need to do is ‘let us know what country are you from and what you want’.

The sellers offers to contact them via Telegram, WhatsApp or email, and payments can be transferred through PayPal and Crypto currency (Bitcoin/ monero, doge coin and others).

We’ve also seen many sellers that do not forget to state anti-vaccination statements such as:

“You don’t need to take the jab(vaccine) to have the certificate”

“We are here to save the world from this poisonous vaccine”

“Stay away from the vaccine and be save while we continue this fight”

Tips for awareness

  • The Darknet functions primarily as the black market of the Internet and is typically involved in transactions involving drugs, cyber-weapons, forgery and more. We recommend people not to engage with sellers publishing on such groups or marketplaces published in the Darknet.
  • 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.
  • All ‘green passes’ and vaccination certificates should be managed and encrypted in a secured way by the relevant official bodies within each country and allow a QR code to be scanned and authenticate it
  • 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