Fake Irish Covid Passports For Sale on the Dark Web
A prolific Irish drug dealer is selling fake Covid-19 vaccine certificates. More so, the seller does so on the dark web. In addition, one certificate goes for as much as €350.
Most people believe digital certificates are likely functional. They get sold to people who want to travel abroad but don't want to get vaccinated. In fact, the seller is among the many people advertising fake certificates on dark markets. Also available are fake negative PCR tests.
Moreover, there are fake documents indicating the holder recovered from Covid-19. Such items have been in the black markets for months. Yet, their prices increased after the Government announced in October the passports' importance.
Gardai stated that they are consulting with health officials on how to respond. In turn, the Health Department said it is working with other EU countries. They want to put in a system to revoke fraudulent certificates at short notice.
A Garda spokesman said the use of fake certificates is a criminal offense. As a result, it carries a maximum sentence of ten years. Also, it can attract a fine of €2,000.
Invalidation of the Fake Certificates
According to reports, no one has gotten caught using a fake certificate in Ireland. Regardless, all citizens get urged to comply with public health guidelines. The reason is, the guidelines save lives.
Member states are striving to improve invalidation and revocation systems. This will help them react to any of the fraudulent cases as quickly as possible.
The seller advertising fake Irish certificates operates on a famous dark market. One other thing, dark markets can only get accessed using the Tor Browser. The digital certificates contain a custom QR code. So then, when scanned, it displays the buyer's name. Further, it consists of a realistic-looking, printed HSE vaccination card.
Other items on the darknet marketplace are LSD, cocaine, and ketamine. They all can get paid for through cryptocurrency.
The functionality of Counterfeit Passports
Maciej Makowski is a former member of the Garda National Cybercrime Bureau. He monitored dark web activity and said the counterfeit certificates were functional. The reason is, the seller is highly rated on the site. So, he would not want to spoil his reputation by defrauding buyers.
The dealer's profile has a 95% positive feedback rate across hundreds of sales. Mr. Makowski said the high price for the certificates indicated one thing. The main customers are probably those seeking to travel abroad. In comparison, those who may want to go to bars or restaurants may not be willing to spend that much.
"Realistically, if you really want to go to a nightclub, you can ask your friend to give you a cert. Most nightclubs don't check that thoroughly against your ID. The real utility of these would be to get on a plane and go abroad. It will match your name, meaning no one could tell it's fake," Mr. Makowski said.
There are many ways criminals get hold of the code required to manufacture the documents. For instance, through inadvertent online leaks. Several EU nations reported the leaking of their vaccine certificate source codes.
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