Instagram Takes Down Ad Promoting Fake COVID Vaccine Certificates

The ad showed a mock-up of the Apple Wallet COVID certificate.

Fake Certificate

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Instagram has taken down a sponsored story on their platform advertising fake vaccination certificates in Australia this week.

The service showed a mock-up of a COVID-19 Apple Wallet certificate, conveniently timed around NSW and Victoria having emerged out of extended lockdowns. It’s unclear how the ad slipped past moderation systems; Instagram has not addressed how much it would have cost the third party company to promote it, or how many people saw it, as per The Guardian.

“The sale of fake documents is not allowed on our platforms. We removed this ad and the entire corresponding account for violating our guidelines,” a Facebook company spokesperson told Junkee.

Wider concerns were first raised last month after software developers noticed a security flaw on the PDF version of the certificate that allowed people to easily make alterations or copies, including changing names and vaccination statuses.

Last week, The Age reported on a website that generated fake certificates for free, and made within minutes in Victoria. Similarly, reports suggest medical staff in Adelaide are even being bribed to pretend anti-vaxx patients have been jabbed, and issue them a certificate.

Security experts have warned that standard authenticity measures like holograms are still easily forgeable, and measures like digital signatures are vital in combating this.

Now, all eyes are turned to the Federal Government’s specific international vaccination certificate, available from Tuesday, and whether they can be forged as well. Unlike most digital or paper certificates used state-by-state, the travel version will feature a QR code for foreign border officials to scan.

Fully jabbed individuals can access their real COVID-19 proof of vaccination via a certificate that can be added to a digital wallet, by showing their full immunisation history statement, via Medicare or an individual healthcare identifier, or a vaccination provider can print a copy out if needed.