Covid vaccinations: Swiss federal authority takes action against fake certificates

They were issued to Mickey Mouse, Spongebob or even to Adolf Hitler: Since the introduction of the Covid certificate, suspicious offers for fake vaccination certificates have been found on the Internet, on the Darknet or on Telegram. A large black market has established itself worldwide in the last few months, writes about the NZZ.

On Friday, the Swiss Federal Office for Information Technology and Telecommunications (FOITT) announced that it could now block such fake Covid certificates that were in circulation. So far, many fake certificates have been shown to be valid when checked with the Swiss “Covid Certificate Check” app.

Last Thursday, the FOITT announced that it would take action against incorrectly issued certificates abroad in order to carry out tests on Friday night. And since the following afternoon, all false certificates that were produced with a private key abroad have been shown as invalid in the control app, said the BIT. The electronic signature of the Swiss Covid certificates is forgery-proof. According to the federal authority, the prerequisite for detection is that the app is connected to the Internet. If the smartphone does not have an internet connection, these certificates would still be displayed as valid in the verification app for a maximum of 48 hours.

In order to take systematic action against fake certificates, however, it is important that the foreign states remove the relevant signature keys from the EU trust list if there is reason to believe that they have been created improperly. This is happening on an ongoing basis, according to the BIT.

In some countries private keys for the creation of valid electronic signatures have apparently leaked and are offered on the Internet, media reports suggest. As in some EU countries, fake Covid certificates have already appeared in Switzerland, which, however, were abusively created with valid signatures by authorized persons.

This happened recently in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud, where according to NZZ four people arrested became. The alleged perpetrators, who worked in a pharmacy and as civil protection officers in the vaccination centers, are said to have issued hundreds of incorrect Covid certificates without authorization.

The German Federal Ministry of Health is also said to have found a solution in the meantime to be able to block all falsified certificates. But just like the Swiss BIT, the German Federal Ministry of Health is keeping a low profile on how the method used works and has not provided the media with any information on this.


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