Hackernoon logoVaccine Passports Sold on The Dark Web by@peter-jobes

Vaccine Passports Sold on The Dark Web

Peter Jobes Hacker Noon profile picture

@peter-jobesPeter Jobes

Peter Jobes is a tech & blockchain writer. Featured in VentureBeat.

Many countries are ramping up vaccine supplies, and others are restricting supplies. The vaccine's effectiveness has helped bring life back to some level of normality following an uncertain turbulent year. 

Some countries, such as UK took steps in acquiring vaccines early, which has helped to vaccinate a vast amount of the population. Other countries such as France have been much slower in the process and are currently in lockdown.

(Image Source: BBC)

Currently, there are three vaccines available that have shown to be effective against the virus. The three are the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine, and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines which are curated in different ways. 

A big part of returning to normality will require proof of vaccines which will require individuals to carry a vaccine passport. This proposed passport will be proof that the person has received the immunization giving them better immunity towards the virus while protecting others around them. 

Many anti-vaxxers are against the vaccine and refuse to have them, but in the broader scope of things, once travel bans are lifted along with other restrictions, only those who have vaccine passports will be free. This has birthed a new opportunity for people on the Darknet to capitalize on. 

Covid-19 vaccines and passports are being sold on the dark web, as well as fake negative test papers. Vaccines are free to receive, but a dose of the AstraZeneca and other vaccines range from £300 and above for a single dose. Fake vaccination certificates are also being sold for around £100 by anonymous traders. 

Research has suggested that there has been a sharp level of increase in the amount of vaccine-related activities on a dark web that induce adverts throughout the pandemic. There is not much to suggest if the vaccines are real or not yet, as it is too early. 

Cyber-security companies have tripled the number of adverts to more than 1,200 since January, and the sellers of the vaccines are thought to be from the UK, Spain, US, Germany, Russia, and France. However, Check Point investigators have found the documents being offered by sellers have been forged, which raises significant questions for the vaccines themselves. 

To help minimize forgery, Check Point urges countries to use and adopt QR codes across all vaccination documents that can be accessed via smart devices. Giving them validity and originality as currently, it is tough to tell the difference between a fake and an authentic document, and it is easy to duplicate. 

The Damage of Disinformation

There is a growing concern regarding the levels of false information circulating the Covid-19 vaccines. Some are deliberately spreading malicious vaccine misinformation, which in reality could result in preventable deaths. 

(Image Source: Statista)

The fake news is slowly fueling public concerns and the possible side effects of the vaccine available, preventing a vast amount of people from getting the vaccine. For this reason, governments worldwide need to think of ways to help regulate this type of speech and content which can be damaging. 

There is a significant relationship between public health and social media. As we know, social media platforms are free and accessible, which means information on them is unlikely to be vetted, unlike news and national media sources. Social media can become a breeding ground for fake information, which can be very influential, especially if this information comes from influencers who have a big following. 

Vaccines are already a dividing subject with a clear split. You are either for or against it. There has been a range of myths that have come to light regarding getting the vaccine, which has scared many off; these include the vaccine can cause autism or infertility. This type of information is not only damaging to public health, but its response can be tiring, having to continually convince everyone the vaccine is safe and effective, eating away a lot of time and money. 

Vaccines are playing a vital role in helping to overcome the effects of the pandemic. It is essential to gain an understanding of the vaccines and how they work while playing a pivotal role in society to help build a defense against Covid-19 and any other viruses that could be lurking. 

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