Digital passports can be cloned


Digital passports can be cloned

Tash Shifrin

An expert has demonstrated how personal data can be easily extracted from passports embedded with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips.

German security expert Lukas Grunwald showed participants at the Defcon conference in Los Angeles a chip containing information he had copied from the RFID tag in his passport.

His demonstration showed that while the data might be encrypted, it could be easily duplicated to make a fake passport. "If there is an automatic inspection system, I can use this card to enter any country," he said.

The demonstration of the vulnerability of the RFID chip in Grunwald’s German passport will raise concerns about the use of the technology elsewhere.

The UK is introducing biometric “ePassports” which will contain a chip with a facial biometric image, while RFID technology is set to be embedded in US passports from October.

The UK passport scheme is also seen as a stepping stone for the controversial £5.8bn ID cards programme. But the Home Office has now delayed putting the ID scheme out to tender while it completes a review as part of a "root and branch" examination of the department’s work.

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