Alberta’s New COVID-19 Vaccine Card Could Lead to Fakes

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The Alberta government launched its COVID-19 immunization record so vaccinated individuals can print out a card-sized copy. It appears there are flaws in the system and getting your name on one of these cards is easy.

After the site launched, individuals on social media stated that the PDF was not locked; therefore, anyone can edit the information on it if they have access to Adobe Reader.

Before the site launched, the province announced the restriction exemption program, which put a duty on some non-essential businesses to implement a vaccination system for patrons or have to abide by additional rules.

Alberta also made a digital version available on the MyHealthRecords smartphone app. However, there are extremely long wait times to access the website and app.

Cybersecurity expert Ritesh Kotak says applications like Photoshop can also be used to manipulate the card. Kotak further says that “There’s no security measures really in place to prevent fraud from happening” and that we can only hope that people don’t abuse the system.

The Government of Alberta stated that the PDF is now as secure as it can be but acknowledged that a motivated individual can edit the document and potentially create a new record.

It’s important to know that cards are illegal to edit.

“Falsifying these health records is also an offence under the Health Information Act, said the province.”Although the government believes that the majority of Albertans will abide by the new system, some may not.

In many other provinces, a QR code has been included to prove vaccination which appears to be working.

In many provinces, a QR code has been included to prove vaccination. Manitoba uses plastic immunization cards with a scannable QR. British Columbia offers a printable paper copy similar to Alberta’s but has a QR code. Alberta’s government said will be available in the coming weeks.

“QR codes are a solution where the information is embedded, it is encrypted in some cases and you need a companion app to scan it and verify it. So it minimizes potential fraud and manipulation of these types of documents,” said Kotak.

 QR codes at this time are the best method to verify vaccination and a person’s identity. Yet Kotak believes a national strategy should also be put in place as people are going to travel and move. This article was originally sourced by CBC News.