Fake Green Pass ring saw teenager in Italy collaborate with Russian hackers.
A 17-year-old student near Rome is accused of selling fake Green Pass certs online with the help of Russian hackers in an illegal trade that saw the teenager earn more than €20,000 in one week.
Italian police were led to the boy, a son of two respected medics in Rieti, by a 'No Vax' escort in Genova who complained that she was being blackmailed, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The woman, who was opposed to the covid vaccine but needed the Green Pass in order to continue going to the gym, had ordered a fake certificate online after sending her documents and €150 over the internet.
Investigators believe that the student was working in collaboration with Russian hackers who produced fake versions of the Green Pass, a certificate showing that the holder has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.
In addition to being mandatory for all workers in Italy, the contentious pass is required for a whole host of social, cultural and leisure activities.
The Genova victim's complaint was passed on to the financial cybercrime unit of the Rome postal police who traced the student to his home in Rieti. A report is currently being prepared for the prosecutor's office for minors.
The boy's doctor parents were reportedly unaware of his illegal activities, believing his massive earnings were the result of his "strong entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to engage in online games", reports Corriere della Sera.
Instead the student had become the Italian reference point for the Russian hackers - as yet unidentified - who decided to collaborate with him after giving up trying to compete.
The young IT expert spent his illicitly gained money on luxury goods, hi-tech products and cryptocurrency investments.
The system involved people requesting fake Green Passes through Telegram channels, with entire packages available at a cost of several hundred euro.
It is believed that the Genovese woman is far from the only person to be blackmailed for money after ordering a fake Green Pass however few people are expected to confess their illegal activity to the police.
The investigation is ongoing.