(Natural News) People around the world are turning to dark web to search for Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines and vaccination certificates as global implementation of vaccine passports looms.
A recent analysis of Google searches by Uswitch shows that the number of people searching for “buy COVID test results” in January 2021 has doubled since August 2020.
In New Zealand, a cybersecurity expert said New Zealanders on the dark web are talking about getting fake COVID-19 test results and vaccine passports.
“At the moment we are scanning more than 200 million dark web pages per week. We do see an increase in COVID-19 vaccine proof or COVID-19 test results, but there were also some test results on offer in certain marketplaces,” said Joerg Buss of Darkscope International, a cybersecurity company based in New Zealand.
Buss said it is not difficult to find these offerings but there is always the risk of falling for a scheme.
“About 90 percent of all the content is fake, but it is not hard for someone to find the real offering. That’s what we think we will see happen over the next couple of months,” Buss said.
WHO warns people of counterfeit and stolen COVID-19 vaccines sold on dark web
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning about counterfeit and stolen COVID-19 vaccines being sold on the dark web.
The WHO is “aware of vaccines being diverted and reintroduced into the supply chain, with no guarantee that [the] cold chain has been maintained,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference.
Fake vaccination certificates are also being sold on the dark web, as well as fake negative tests. Sellers of these documents are targeting people traveling abroad. (Related: Dark web sellers peddling blood they claim is from recovered COVID-19 patients.)
According to the WHO, several ministries of health and regulatory agencies around the world had received suspicious offers to supply vaccines. There were also reports of “criminal groups” reusing empty vaccine vials. “We urge the secure disposal or destruction of used and empty vaccine vials to prevent them from being reused by criminal groups,” said Ghebreyesus.
The WHO also alerted the public to a falsified vaccine detected in Mexico in February. The vaccines had been administered to patients outside of authorized vaccination programs.
“Falsified COVID-19 vaccines pose a serious risk to global public health and place an additional burden on vulnerable populations and health systems. It is important to identify and remove these from circulation,” the WHO said in a statement.
The BBC reported that doses of AstraZeneca, Sputnik, Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being offered for prices between $500 and $750 on the dark web. Fake vaccination certificates are also being sold for as low as $150.
Researchers at cyber-security company Check Point have monitored hacking forums and other marketplaces since January when vaccine advertisements first appeared. Sellers of vaccines appear to be from the U.S., U.K., Spain, Germany, France and Russia.
“We urge all people not to buy vaccines outside government-run vaccination programs,” said Ghebreyesus. “Any vaccine outside these programs may be substandard or falsified, with the potential to cause serious harm.”
The bigger issue is that not all countries have government-run vaccination programs.
According to People’s Vaccine Alliance, at least 47 of the world’s 79 lowest-income countries hadn’t vaccinated any of their population as of March 4. Should a vaccine passport become a requirement for international travel, it would certainly put countries that have less access to vaccines at a disadvantage.
Government and private sector leaders continue push for vaccine passports
While people are exploring their options through the dark web, government leaders and private sector executives continue their push for vaccine passports.
President Joe Biden’s administration has reached out to the private sectors to coordinate their attempts to develop vaccine passports while European Union leaders have backed the introduction of a “digital green certificate.” Denmark has launched its “Coronapas” while Israel has implemented its “green pass” program. (Related: Critics slam Biden administration’s vaccine passport plan for being “un-American.”)
The concept of a vaccine passport has also gained popularity among private sector executives, as many companies want to prevent unvaccinated people from entering their facilities. Many are considering making vaccine passports a requirement to enter movie theaters, music and sports venues, restaurants and cruise ships.
Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor to the White House’s coronavirus response team, said on March 29 that the private sector is leading the effort to create the unified vaccine passport database.
“This is going to hit all parts of society, and so naturally, the government is involved,” said Slavitt. “We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do.”
The International Air Transport Association is developing a mobile application called “Travel Pass,” which will display coronavirus test results or proof of inoculation. Its aim is to provide governments with the confidence to reopen borders without imposing quarantines on incoming travelers.
IBM is also working on a “digital health pass” as a way to bring people back to a physical location, such as a workplace, school, stadium or airline flight.
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