The Ministry of Health’s new online portal for those waiting to receive certificates proving their recovery status from Covid-19 has been set up with an error in the domain name.
The service was put in place following complaints of long delays on the dedicated hotline.
The domain name of the government website is irishcovidcertifcateportal.org, an “i” is missing in “certificate”.
Tech journalist Adam Conway and computer science student and programmer Fionn Kelleher have since created another website with the correct spelling of “certificate,” which directs visitors to the official government website.
Mr Conway said he was concerned that criminals would buy the domain name with the correct spelling of “certificate”.
“That’s why I wanted to jump on it, I knew how easy it would be to take it and abuse it.”
Mr. Conway tweeted about it, and Mr. Kelleher responded by purchasing the domain name, to make sure it was not being used by “someone with malicious intent.”
The pair said it was relatively straightforward to register the domain and create the fictitious site.
Speaking of the risk if criminal actors bought the URL with the correct spelling of ‘certificate’, Mr Conway said: ‘They could make an exact copy of the government website and people wouldn’t know the difference.
“People could enter their personal data and it wouldn’t go to the government, it could go straight into the wrong hands. Especially with PPS numbers, criminals could very easily participate in identity theft.
It cost Mr. Conway and Mr. Kelleher just over $ 16 to purchase the domain name, which will host the bogus website for a year.
Comments have been sought from the Department of Health regarding the spelling of the URL and the dummy website.
The official portal
Earlier on Friday, the official portal – with the spelling error of “certificate” in the URL – was set up by the government.
The portal is accessible through the government website gov.ie (https://www.gov.ie/en/service/9aa37-request-a-certificate-to-show-that-you’ve-had-Covid-19-in-the-last-6-months/), or https://irishcovidcertifcateportal.org/.
It is intended for members of the public who had Covid-19 more than 11 days ago but less than 180 days (six months) and are now recovered.
It was launched in addition to the toll free number for those who have been vaccinated.
Instead of calling the Covid Digital Certificate (DCC) helpline, those who have recovered from Covid-19 can now complete an online form to request a certificate of recovery.
This certificate proves that the person has had Covid-19 within the past six months and it is considered another form of CCD from the European Union, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.
This follows numerous complaints from members of the public about long wait times and concerns that they had not received their CCDs on time for scheduled trips.
The helpline for people with questions about DCC for international travel answered less than 7% of the calls it received in its first three days.
Staff handled 4,761 of the 70,000 calls received by the center on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Ministry has indicated that it is constantly striving to improve this service.
The center opened with 55 employees, growing to more than 80, and more than 100 will be in place next week.
If members of the public have questions about their vaccination certificate, they can continue to call the helpline at 1800 807 008 or +353 76 888 5513 when calling from overseas.
However, the Department of Health has requested that only those planning to travel within the next 10 days call the helpline, as non-emergency calls add very long wait times to all calls and prevent many calls. urgent to pass.
Requests for a certificate of a Covid-19 test can be directed to your private test provider, he said.