New Requirements in the Wake of Omicron have led to Increased Dark Market Activity Around Fake Covid Certificates

By : Nata Kesuma | Tuesday, January 18 2022 - 22:10 IWST

Check Point Software Technologies (Images by Acclaim)
Check Point Software Technologies (Images by Acclaim)

INDUSTRY.co.id - Check Point Research has warned of a resurgence in counterfeit test and vaccination certificates amid a new wave of infections driven by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Forged certificate vendors have increased their activity in recent weeks as countries around the world introduce or reinforce measures to control the spread of the new variant.

The European Union has had a COVID-19 passport scheme in place since July 2021, with many other nations, including certain US states, following suit. International travel has also once again become heavily dependent on vaccination or test status, with countries around the world tightening their rules around quarantine. Some countries such as Austria and Germany now require double vaccinated people to also present a negative PCR/Antigen test.

The high transmissibility and rapid spread of the Omicron variant, combined with issues around the resourcing and supply of rapid lateral flow and PCR tests, has created a new gap in the market that fraudsters are once again looking to exploit. According to Check Point Research (CPR), at least one group that was active during the Delta variant wave but went quiet in October 2021, has resurfaced to exploit the situation.

Potential customers could be either people who have tested positive, refused to take a test or are unwilling to have the vaccine, instead choosing to search the internet looking for alternatives. Innocent users can also fall victim, being lured to fraudulent or suspicious domains while looking for genuine guidance and advice.

CPR also discovered a dramatic increase in the amount of money changing hands for fraudulent vaccination or test certificates. Shortly after the initial announcement of vaccination certificates in 2021, counterfeit PCR and antigen test certificates were typically selling for US$75 to US$100 (£100 – £135). In this latest awakening of the dark market, those same documents are priced between US$200 and US$600 (£270 – £450), representing an increase of up to 600%.

Liad Mizrachi, Security Expert at Check Point Software, commented: “Without a centralised system in place for test and vaccine certification, it’s very easy for scammers to exploit the current situation to their advantage. That’s certainly what we’re seeing here, with some fraudster groups that have been dormant for months resurfacing to reap what they can from changing pandemic landscape. Countries around the world have tightened their restrictions, asking citizens to produce negative test results or proof of vaccination status before being allowed to enter large venues and gatherings, and international travel has once again been made more difficult due to surging cases. This, combined with test kit supply issues and general vaccine hesitancy, has created a perfect storm for scammers. They’re once again operating with quiet confidence, as evidenced by the bold and dramatic increase in prices we’re seeing on the dark market. Governments need to come together quickly in order to combat this latest dark market surge or risk seeing counterfeit documents increase in number over the coming weeks and months.”

News Comment

Today's Industry

PT Autopedia Sukses Lestari Tbk (ASLC)

Rabu, 25 Januari 2023 - 09:30 WIB

ASLC Successfully Surpasses 2022 Used Car Sales Target via Caroline.id

PT Autopedia Sukses Lestari Tbk (ASLC), a company engaged in used vehicles auction and trading of used cars, succeeded in selling 2,481 units of used cars through used car dealers under its…

A woman is paying her attention to the Jakarta Composite Index board movement. (Document of INDUSTRY.co.id)

Kamis, 05 Januari 2023 - 22:29 WIB

New Economic Board, GOTO Share Moves Closer to Global Indices

The presence of the New Economic Board on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) brings many benefits to PT GoTo Gojek Tokopedia Tbk (GOTO). One of them is getting closer to the shares listing of…

PT Alkindo Naratama Tbk (“ALDO”)

Senin, 19 Desember 2022 - 23:51 WIB

ALDO Aims 2023 Sales to Increase More Than Double

PT Alkindo Naratama Tbk (“ALDO”), a listed company engaged in the integrated paper and chemical business are optimistic that the Company's performance in 2023 will improve, in line with…

Lauren Blasco of ACV.

Senin, 19 Desember 2022 - 22:39 WIB

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry taps AC Ventures’ ESG head to join task force

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) recently tapped AC Ventures’ (ACV) Head of ESG Lauren Blasco to join its newly formed ESG task force, an elite group of stakeholders…

PT Adi Sarana Armada Tbk (ASSA)

Senin, 19 Desember 2022 - 21:12 WIB

Keep Optimistic, President Director of ASSA Adds Ownership

President Director of PT Adi Sarana Armada Tbk (ASSA), Prodjo Sunarjanto, has increased his portion of share ownership on 28 November 2022. Prodjo has purchased 1,128,300 shares at a price of…