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Expert cracks biometric passport data

Cliff Saran

The security being developed for the government's ID cards and biometric passports programmes has been thrown into question after a Guardian reporter and a security expert took just 48 hours to access encrypted data on a biometric passport's RFID chip.

Although passports use military-grade encryption, Adam Laurie, technical director at The Bunker, said the information used to form the security key for the chip could be found using an online flight booking site and flight coupons, which are often discarded at airports.

With the information on the coupon a hacker could use an airline website to gain all the basic customer data held on an e-passport.

Laurie warned that, armed with the security key and a £100 RFID reader, criminals would be able to decrypt and clone passports.

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