Cyber tech company highlights major flaws in COVID-19 bluetooth & proximity tracing apps
VST Enterprises Ltd (VSTE) the British cyber security company founded by tech entrepreneur Louis-James Davis (31) has highlighted a number of serious and major flaws in the proposed bluetooth proximity apps that are current being discussed as a way of tracking the COVID 19 virus.
VSTE claim that the use of Bluetooth and proximity apps alone, to help track and identify whether someone is infected with COVID 19 will lead to a series of major issues including; Mass population anxiety around real time tracking and GPS data mapping, Mass concerns around the policing or non-policing of data being uploaded, Public and Government reliance on the data that could be subject to false flag ‘bad actor’ attacks or the potential for hacking and manipulation of data by a rogue state.
VSTE - which announced plans last week to provide a unique digital health passport to help get critical care health workers in the NHS back on the frontline, also confirmed it was launching a health passport to help kick start the £24 Billion UK Sports economy. The company is engaged at present in talks with various sporting and regulatory bodies across football, golf, rugby, tennis and F1 in the UK and globally. It is also actively in dialogue with the UK Government and with other key stakeholders.
Louis-James Davis CEO of VST Enterprises said that the tracing technology that is being proposed was fundamentally flawed.
There are many issues around real time tracking, GPS data mapping which will naturally create anxiety amongst the population. Throw into the mix, issues surrounding privacy and the State or big corporates having access will create further panic and concern.
Lord Jonathan Evans - the former head of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency Mi5 - has also publicly stated his concerns over the issues surrounding privacy and tracking the movements of all UK citizens. The former spy chief warned that in adopting such measures would provoke a human rights backlash on privacy grounds.
VSTE CEO Louis-James Davis explained; “The public have always been nervous around a Government or a big corporate knowing their ‘real-time’ whereabouts or ‘real-time’ daily travel activity. Given that most major corporates are renowned for selling advertisements or push ‘suggestions’ based on device voice recordings and geo sensitive insights, only heightens anxiety when you could now add a health data set.
The proposition of having a health app that is ‘opt-in’ and filled with self-diagnosed triage information is mostly worthless to society. More anxiety and discrimination will come from wondering who is being honest and who even has the app on their phones.”
Only 79% of adults over 18 have a smart phone in the U.K and under 18’s may not have a smart phone either. This means the real-time information data cannot be captured for those without the app, leaving a major hole in the data set. In other countries, it is reported that 1 in 6 smart-phone users have opted in to this style of app.
VSTE’s approach with its technology offers a much more pragmatic solution. VCode® and VPlatform® is the technology behind its digital health passport ‘V-COVID™’. The passport can be interacted with by scanning a VCode® outside of the recommended 2m zone, keeping all those safe. The VPlatform does not track real-time data of VCode® app users, It only records location data for where they have scanned or have been scanned. The Government or health care professionals will see interaction data from scans and will gain a much more accurate data set between those who have come into contact with each other and those who are in their different stages of their traffic light journey. Non-smartphone users can still display an image of their VCode® (stored as a photo) on their device, key fob or printout.
On the issue and concerns on the Policing of data Louis-James Davis added;
“With the pandemic causing so many deaths, it is worrying that the Government would think about backing an app that is self opt-in and self updating purely for the fact it could be and most definitely will be abused. The app may install a false sense of hope and may cause more people to mingle. They won’t know that they are infected until they show symptoms which is no better than not having the app in the first place.”
If a digital health passport is in action and mandated using VCode® the Government can gradually ease the population back into daily life in a staged and tiered process. Those in essential services such as critical care and health workers first, followed by other blue light emergency services and then logistics, utilities and key infrastructure, banking and finance. Testing and heath care passports can be managed through the NHS or a relevant health care providers.
The VCovid® digital health passport carriers would find comfort that this has been administered formally by a health professional. People are notified they are allowed to resume a semi-normal daily life after their passport is granted in line with Government guidelines while maintaining their safe distance, which is facilitated by an easy to use technology that offers speed, convenience and safety.
Commenting on the data reliance by the population and Government which could see a false flag /bad actor attack scenario Louis-James Davis said;
“If a tracking app is opt-in, this is just another set of data to throw in the mix with the current demand on the NHS from their true ‘evidenced data’. All of the symptom data population to these apps are voluntary. The app notifies those who have been in contact with those who ‘state’ they are showing symptoms that they may be infected.
If a person states that they are fine or doesn’t populate they are infected because they are too ill, then the system is flawed. Equally if a ‘Bad Actor’ comes into contact with a lot of people e.g a large gathering at an event, there is nothing to stop them false flagging that they are now infected and pushing false information to thousands of other people who attended or have been in proximity to them. This then raises anxiety and fears causing mass panic, vital resources can then be put under pressure just because of bad data.”
To combat this using a VCode® all of the information is populated by a Doctor or health care professional after ongoing tests. Both health care professionals and the public can see different information from a scan based on their security credentials. A member of the public will only be able to check their own code and scan others to be satisfied with a ‘top level’ red, amber, green traffic light indicator (accompanied by an identifying credential including Name and Photo). Symptom updates can be requested by push notifications and sent directly to the smart device dashboard of the health care professional. Push notifications can also be designed to go out to the public when it is time to book in their next test or if the Government want to issue new guidelines.
The issues surrounding a hack and the manipulation of data from a Rogue State is also a major security issue and concern, given all of what we know about the interference with election results. Such manipulation by a rogue state could further damage the country with the perceived threat of a second or third wave of the virus thus forcing the country into tough lockdown measures again and creating economic hardship.
Louis James Davis said; “The tracing app is vulnerable to an attack every 24 hours once the daily keys are put into play. Although this is difficult, it is not impossible to work this back to user data.
Each phone or smart device handset are themselves subject to a wider brute force attack using Bluetooth hacks and malware. A rogue state could hack handsets of un-suspecting users and remotely manipulate or update their voluntary contribution to the system… creating negative effects to any Government or health service relying on the data. If the high level information ‘stats’ were disclosed to the public or the media, then this could have a massive impact on a countries economic wellbeing as financiers would model economic trends associated with the health data based on the last quarters bailouts and cost.”
VSTE’s approach using its VCode® and VPlatform® technology is unique. The VPlatform® technology can lockdown the creation of codes and/or scanning of codes to a certain location (within 5m). This means a Doctor or health care professional can only assign a test to a digital health passport once they are in their place of designated practice. This code creation is also subject to other things such as time, device type etc.
Both the Doctor, the patient and the test are subject to three different VCode’s® with three different multi-layered security protocols making it ultra secure (all of which are stored and encrypted separately).
As a Virtual Private Network can only change an IP address to a certain city (not to the building), false data inputs to this system would need to be created as if it were real, in person with all of the right security protocols. This would mean that all of the people in the creation of the passport would become the bad actor.
The groundbreaking, patent protected VCode® and VPlatform® technology which powers the ‘V-COVID ™’ digital health passport works as a secure digital passport within a scannable app. The technology can be integrated into existing sporting and healthcare apps using the software development kit but will also be rolled out alongside Corona Virus (Covid-19) testing kits.
VCode® and VPlatform® the operating technology which powers ‘V-COVID™’ digital health passport represents the gold standard and next generation of code scanning technology – an evolutionary step forward from traditional barcodes and QR Codes. Using military grade encryption it has over 2.2 Quintillion variations of codes. The codes become ultra-secure as user login, time, facial recognition, touch ID, geo-fences, handset brand and number of scans are just some of the factors that change what information the VCode® links to at the point of scanning.
VCode® in its own right has an infinite range of applications and capabilities from secure identification and ID, to geo location and geo fencing, asset tracking, authentication and permission based authorisations. It's unique technology means that the ‘V-COVID ™’ digital health passport can also be used for the same validation and authentication process to be used in tests for other viruses such as Ebola, Sars and Mers. It will also help strategically to ensure that with regular updates and testing there is a reduced chance of a second wave of Corona Virus infections.
VSTE is currently using the same technology to work with the UNITED NATIONS as part of their SDG Collaboratory (Sustainable Development Goals) program - to provide a wide range of technology services to 9 Billion people by 2030 and which will be announced in the coming weeks.