Fake Vaccine Passports are a Threat to Lockdown Roadmaps
In Australia, fake vaccine passports are becoming part of everyday life. This is as a result of the new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic we are entering. On the flip side, a sprouting market for fake vaccine passports is already available. So then, the market threatens to unzip the sacrifices made over the past 18 months.
Victoria and NSW unfolded plans to emerge from lockdown. Yet, the future for residents seems a lot different from the one they left behind.
Use of Vaccine Passports
Soon, accessing clubs, restaurants, and just about anything will depend on vaccination proof. For instance, a vaccine passport will provide an electronic record of your vaccination status. In fact, the record will be on your smartphone. A quick scan of your entry will show that you got vaccinated.
Once you get fully vaccinated, the data gets logged with your Medicare number. As a result, the future vaccine passport app will have access to your Medicare details. This will be through the federal government’s myGov app.
As you can imagine, in theory, it sounds simple enough. However, the technology behind the concept has a history of being less secure. For example, last year, thousands of myGov accounts got breached. Also, in 2017, the details of any Medicare user got offered for sale on the dark web.
Response of Authorities Regarding Fake Vaccine Passports
Reports from the Herald Sun say that the Australian Federal Police are investigating darknet users. To be specific, those offering to update your Medicare vaccine data for a price. The hackers also use encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram and WhatsApp.
Likewise, they offer a fake digital Apple wallet passport for $500. Furthermore, you can opt for personal Medicare details updated on medical records for $1000. For two people they charge $1800 and for five people $4000.
Opening plans for Victoria and NSW rely on vaccination rates. As an example, thousands of people in the community may register as vaccinated but aren’t. Following that, hospitalizations and case numbers could overpower the health system.
“Police are aware of the illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccination certificates and conduct regular proactive operations on the dark web to disrupt such illicit activities,” Matthew Craft told 9News. He is the NSW police cybercrime commander detective superintendent.
Similarly, an AFP spokesman confirmed they are aware of fraudulent vaccine passports on sale. They get sold on the black market and encrypted messaging apps together with hacking services. In addition, the recent government surveillance legislation got praised. The reason being, it gives the AFP powers when it comes to encrypted data.
The Surveillance Legislation Amendment Act 2021
The amendment act enables the AFP to identify criminals on the darknet effectively. More so, they can now disrupt their activities even if they use cryptocurrency and Tor to hide. Still, the legislation has its controversy. Many experts argue that it goes too far in allowing the government to ‘spy on us.’
In conclusion, as we are entering a new phase of the pandemic, keep safe. It is a more dangerous one as cybercriminals are seeking to benefit from the systems implemented.