Police in Italy have swooped on a rampant online trade in fake digital Covid-19 passports.
The Milan cybercrime prosecutor’s office spearheaded an operation which had seen thousands of Italians vying to buy the false certificates.
“About 250,000 users had registered and tried to interact with the sellers,” said Gian Luca Berruti, head of the cyber fraud unit.
The criminals conducted their forgery scheme through channels on the Telegram app where Italian police have now shutdown 10 suspicious accounts.
Reports suggest the forged digital passports cost between €110 and €130, and payments were made using cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain-powered digital passports
Blockchain technology has been crucial in the creation of digital Covid-19 passports that can be trusted and transparent, allowing free movement of people to resume.
The tiny nation of San Marino, has lead the way, recently launching it’s own NFT Covid-19 certificate.
The passports are aimed at facilitating the re-opening of free travel across the Schengen area, and can be granted as either a certificate of vaccination or as proof of a negative PCR or antigen test result.
Known as the Digital Green Certificate, the passport contains a QR code with a digital signature to protect it against falsification.
When a traveller presents a digital certificate it can be easily checked, the QR code can be immediately scanned and then the signature is verified.
Each issuing body (hospital, test centre or health authority, for example) has its own digital signature key.
All of the certificates’ information is stored in a secure blockchain database in each country.
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