What can and should be done to curb fake vaccination records?
As recently as August 10, 2021, we wrote that Telegram channels were offering to prepare fake vaccination certificates for customers. Read - Fake Covid Certificates and Health Passes Easily Available on Social Media Platforms.
Indian Express article
As the above article suggests, getting a fake Vaccination Certificate and a negative test report is now easier and more accessible than ever. The problem of fake Vaccination Certificates is growing exponentially in India and dozens of countries worldwide as they have become ways to bypass travel restrictions. Authorities insist on these documents as those wholly vaccinated are reportedly less prone to succumbing to the virus and propagating it further. Unfortunately, between August 2021, and September 2021, in just one month, the number of fake vaccination certificates has grown by 1000% (10x).
A casual search on Google will direct you to scores of sources to “prepare” your vaccination certificates. Just a few months ago in March, when we started tracking this trend - How To Make Covid-19 Test Reports Easily Verifiable, the dark web was mainly used to get these certificates. But, unfortunately, the same unscrupulous elements have been emboldened today and have resorted to using more mainstream options like Telegram channels.
There are some critical reasons for the proliferation of fake Vaccine Certificates
1. Demand-Supply Gap : Mandatory requirements have created increased demand while supplies have not been able to keep up. Vaccines are not available to all age groups or travelling populations.
2. Lack of synergy in Vaccine acceptance : There is significant variation of Vaccine acceptance across countries and geographies.
3. Lack of a centralized mechanism for verification of the Vaccine Certificates
4. Adverse Reactions : In certain cases individuals may have adverse reactions to Vaccines and may not be able to take them while vaccinations are being made mandatory.
For reasons such as these, more individuals resort to approaching fake certificate vendors, who facilitate the travel by creating records for the appropriate requirements of the destination country.
How Can Immigration in the Destination/Transit Country, Ensure The Genuineness Of Vaccination Certificate?
Authenticity has to be ensured at the source itself first and NOT just in the destination or transit country. And hence the very creation of the Vaccination Certificate must be foolproof.
Let us explain -
The only way to ensure the authenticity of a Vaccination Certificate by immigration authorities is to validate that the certificate is generated from a “trusted source.” Then there needs to be a seamless verification system. i.e., the verifier in the destination country or anywhere throughout the travel eco-system should be able to scan the QR code issued by the health authorities from the originating country and ensure that the certificate is genuine.
Large nations must “secure at source” at the bare minimum to maintain their credibility and ensure that their Vaccination Certificates are trustworthy worldwide.
A centralized verification domain for the country – for example, https://verify.cowin.gov.in being used by the Government of India can authenticate the QR code on the certificate anytime, anywhere in the world. The country can do that without compromising on privacy and confidentiality. This also ensures that there always exists an accurate and consolidated repository of all vaccination certificates issued by the country.
The issuing country would need to have a system that can centralize vaccination certificates in ‘phygital’ (physical-digital) format with a secure QR code embedded into the certificate itself. The same may be validated as a print-out or as an electronic copy.
Can you ensure that even existing certificates adopt Secure QR ?
Suppose the vaccination certificates have been issued without a secure QR code, then it may be necessary to get them reissued with a secure QR code, which can be done easily.
Even in such cases, since there is a precise electronic record of the vaccination certificates in a central database, the Health Ministry can now regenerate these certificates with secure QR codes so that any traveler can now download the updated version of the secure code generated certificate.
The immigration authorities can now go to the country-based verification portal and scan the code or use an official app to scan the QR code directly, ensuring that all the certificates can be validated. This one step would ensure quick and accurate verification and prevent any fraud with secure QR codes. Across the world, different standards are being adopted for this purpose, such as EU DCC, SHC, and DIVOC. Each comes with its pros and cons, but the basic premise is to have verifiable certificates to enable seamless travel and other movements as required.
Qryptal supports the EU DCC and SHC standards and is also working to incorporate other standards as appropriate. With our technical expertise we can help you implement this efficiently and successfully and keep pace with any changes to specs or requirements that may evolve with time. We are also able to deploy the solution at scale to take care of millions of codes that may be needed for Vaccination Certificates, Covid Test reports and Recovery certificates. We do all this keeping patient/customer data privacy and security uppermost as all the information is only inside the secure QR code and not on any online server.
Sample Vaccination Certificate with Secure QR Code
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