Malta has joined a host of other countries in having a black market for forged vaccine certifications, with a fake certificate going for €150, according to a new study.
The market for documentation to get around increasingly stringent COVID-19 regulations is booming, with the number of both vendors and members in groups related to the sale of such items increasing more than 10 times in just a month.
The cyber threat intelligence firm Check Point Research (CPR) has been monitoring the black market related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, releasing regular updates on shifts in products, places, and methods of sale related to the global phenomenon.
Initially providing vaccines and forged test results, the black market has turned to selling forged vaccine certificates in response to the increasing use of some form of mandatory vaccination, whether for travel, work or recreation.
The black market for fake vaccine certificates has now expanded globally, with the product found being sold in 29 countries in September, nine more than in August.
Among the new entries to the list is Malta, where vaccine certificates are a requirement for quarantine-free travel in most cases.
The advertised price for a forged vaccine certificate in Malta is €150.
Perhaps more alarmingly, while CPR saw roughly 1,000 vendors on the popular encrypted messaging app Telegram on 10th August, that number ballooned to over 10,000 by 23rd September.
Following US President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate announcement, a “Registered” Centres for Disease Control (CDC) vaccine card in the US has risen from $100 to $200, and Telegram group members in the US risen from 30,000 to over 300,000.
Meanwhile, in Austria, a Telegram bot has been designed to help people get around the rules by simply entering their details to receive a free vaccine certificate or negative PCR test.
Since its inception, the Family Business Office has been instrumental in highlighting the needs of family-run enterprises in Malta.
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