Faked Covid-19 test results, as well as falsified vaccine passports and even products that are claimed to be the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines have been spotted for sale on the Dark Web.
The websites – impossible to access from most popular web browsers – have long been known to host marketplaces for illegal drugs, pornography and weapons but researchers at cyber-security company Check Point say they have identified a sudden surge in coronavirus-related products over the past few months.
The illegal websites are based all over the world, but a large number of the pages are written in Russian, suggesting that the sellers are based in Russia or Eastern Europe.
As international travel begins to open up, it’s expected that many airlines and other carriers will demand a valid negative Covid test or a verified vaccine passport as a condition of travel.
But Check Point analysts say they have seen fake vaccination certificates being advertised by anonymous sellers for as little as $150 (about £110).
The same sites claim to have coronavirus vaccines on sale. One site offered the Oxford-AstraZeneca at $500 (£365), and a single dose of the the Russian Sputnik jab for $600.
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Check Point analysts say there are over 1,200 traders currently advertising vaccines for sale.
Most demand payment in Bitcoin or other untraceable cryptocurrencies, making the identification of the sellers almost impossible.
Oded Vanunu, head of product vulnerabilities research at Check Point told BBC News: "It's imperative for people to understand that attempting to obtain a vaccine, a vaccination card or negative Covid-19 test result by unofficial means is extremely risky, as hackers are more interested in your money, information and identity for exploitation."
He added that one of his researchers had paid $750 for a dose of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for research purposes, but the goods had not yet arrived.
More than 25million people in the UK have now received a first dose of a vaccine, but concerns have been raised that shortages could lead to younger Brits having to wait over a month for their jab.
Check Point is advocating the use of an internationally-recognised digital signature for all vaccine documentation to make forgeries more difficult.
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