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December 18, 2006

New ePassport Can Be Hacked In 5 Minutes

Posted in: Homeland Security

E-passportsWhile we know that international borders and travel need to be closely monitored, the use of technology in passports is truly lacking and will most likely cause more problems than it will solve. The initiative called ePassport is the use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to monitor the passports. While on paper it sounds like a great idea, in reality it is an older technology that has loopholes all throughout it. The signal can be read, copied, and duplicated onto a fake passport with the right tools (available on eBay) in about 5 minutes.

But as we know, governmental officials will force this plan forward no matter how poorly concieved because it is a plan. And terrorists and other “bad guys” will use it to harm others. As one technology expert said “It is almost like writing your pin number on the back of your cashpoint card.”

But this is also the bad thing about them because, as Lukas demonstrated to me, he can easily download the data from his passport using an RFID reader he got for 200 Euros on eBay.
Lukas is less forthcoming about where he got what is called the Golden Reader Tool, it is the software used by border police and it allows him to read the chip on his ePassport, including the photo.
Now for the clever bit. Thanks to a software he himself has developed, called RFdump, he downloads the passport’s data onto his computer and then onto a blank chip.
Using a standard off-the-shelf component you can just buy at a component store you can have a cloned ePassport in less than five minutes.  via the BBC NEWS

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