Warning of serious risk to industry from fake COVID-19 certificates

A company developing a secure health passport says it’s the only way to protect the sector

British tech firm, VST Enterprises has issued a warning to the aviation industry over COVID-19 security threats in response to last week’s chaotic events at Heathrow Airport.

Last Monday (Jan 18), the government implemented tougher measures on border control to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Passengers arriving at the London hub last week were struck with long delays, social distancing breaches, £500 fines and the refusal of entry without a negative test certificate.

Aviation Image Network/Bailey
Photo Aviation Image Network/Bailey

Louis-James Davis, CEO of VST, warned of unsafe QR and bar code technology that could enable passengers to acquire fake COVID-19 test certificates and vaccination records. He also reiterated his concern of potential data breaches using unsecure code scanning technology in health passports.

Davis believes that the scenes displayed at Heathrow last Monday could have been prevented if the airport had adopted the health passport technology.

“By moving towards a secure ’one for all’ technology-based solution that passengers can use with their phones, will not only protect the data of passengers but also the safety of their health. It will ensure that a passenger who is travelling has a valid COVID test result or vaccine immunisation record and ensuring other fellow passengers are safe,” he explained.

VST Enterprises launched the world’s first digital health passport (V-Health Passport) in December last year. The passport provides COVID-19 test status information as well as vaccination records. It was developed to be used internationally and has over 200 clinics situated across the UK where customers are able to book a virus test.

The Health Passport is set to start administering its programme across airlines and airports internationally, whilst already in use in the UK.

Built on a privacy network of ‘Self Sovereign Identity’, the technology is GDPR compliant and therefore enables customers to choose what information they wish to share.

According to the firm, the health passport is the most secure of its kind in the world. The Vcode coding used for the technology means it is unable to be cloned, unlike QR and Bar codes.

“QR codes were originally developed as a scanning technology for close proximity car parts tracking, a world away from identity and banking use cases and now digital health passports. They were never designed with security or privacy in mind… they are simply not fit for purpose and should not be used at all in any form for delivery of sensitive information, travel or event tickets or health passport,” said Davis.

 There has recently been an increase in fake coronavirus test certificates and vaccination cards, placing a threat on passenger safety. An individual in possession of a fake test certificate may be carrying the virus, therefore infecting other passengers and crew.

 VST is currently working with the UK government and a variety of international governments to implement the new technology.