The Malaysian government has introduced a new mobile app that checks the authenticity of digital health certificates.
Based on information from the Apple App store, the Vaccine Certificate Verifier app can authenticate both printed and digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates stored in the MySejahtera contact tracing app. It supports certificates issued by Singapore and the European Union as well. The app is available for download in Google Play and Huawei App Gallery.
Initially released in May, the app has been updated to its latest version ahead of the interface changes made in the digital health certificates stored in the MySejahtera app. The digital certificates now have an updated QR code format and indicate that they can only be scanned through the Vaccine Certificate Verifier app.
WHY IT MATTERS
The release of the Vaccine Certificate Verifier app, along with the updated digital health certificates, is a response to bad actors producing and selling fake certificates in the country. Two weeks ago, the Royal Malaysia Police said it was investigating the circulation of a Facebook post claiming the existence of the sale of fake vaccination certificates.
THE LARGER TREND
American-Israeli cybersecurity software firm Check Point conducted research into the black market for fake digital vaccine certificates. It noted that the trend has been happening around the world with most of such activities taking place in Europe. In the Darknet, fake vaccine passports can be produced for $250. This is also happening in the US, Pakistan and Indonesia, the software company said.
Concerns over the thriving trade have led 47 state attorney generals in the US to issue a statement urging CEOs of Twitter, Shopify and eBay to take down ads or links selling fake vaccination cards.
Last month marked the US Justice Department’s first prosecution case involving the sale of bogus COVID-19 immunisation and vaccination cards.
To combat these illegal activities, Singapore developed and rolled out the HealthCerts system for verifying digital COVID-19 test reports. The system is intended to facilitate and hasten travellers’ clearance at immigration checkpoints. In Dubai, a digital verification system was also put in place to clear travellers’ COVID-19 tests and vaccination reports.