UK Liberty

so-called fraud proof epassport can be copied and altered

Posted in database state, ID Cards by ukliberty on August 6, 2008

The Register:

The ‘fraud-proof’ e-passport can be copied and altered, a Dutch security researcher has demonstrated. In tests conducted for the Times, Jeroen van Beek of the University of Amsterdam changed the chip data in a normal UK e-passport to contain a picture of Osama bin Laden. The paper also reports that van Beek has contrived to have a passport in the name of Elvis Presley accepted by a public e-reader in a Dutch town hall.

This however is not quite what van Beek has done. The integrity of the data in the e-passport is protected by a digital signature, and alteration of the data will result in the passport being rejected by the reader. In addition to changing the data, van Beek appears to have been able to write a new signature to the chip that will pass muster, but only under certain circumstances.

Validation of the signatures on e-passports requires the exchange of PKI certificates between countries’ issuing authorities, or the use of ICAO’s PKD (Public Key Directory) system. Logically the ICAO PKD system ought to be used to provide a standard level of validation for what is intended to be a glabal, secure document standard. Currently, however, use of the PKD is far from universal, and many countries (the UK included) rely on bilateral exchange of certificates with other countries. …

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