Thursday, August 03, 2006

Remember those ultra-modern passports

that the US started requiring and caused such a flap around the rest of the world because of their cost? They had RFID chips and various other security-minded features. Well, apparently they're easily hackable and as easily copied as the old passports. Suhhweeet!

In a demonstration for Wired News, Grunwald placed his passport on top of an official passport-inspection RFID reader used for border control. He obtained the reader by ordering it from the maker -- Walluf, Germany-based ACG Identification Technologies -- but says someone could easily make their own for about $200 just by adding an antenna to a standard RFID reader. He then launched a program that border patrol stations use to read the passports -- called Golden Reader Tool and made by secunet Security Networks -- and within four seconds, the data from the passport chip appeared on screen in the Golden Reader template.

Grunwald then prepared a sample blank passport page embedded with an RFID tag by placing it on the reader -- which can also act as a writer -- and burning in the ICAO layout, so that the basic structure of the chip matched that of an official passport. As the final step, he used a program that he and a partner designed two years ago, called RFDump, to program the new chip with the copied information. The result was a blank document that looks, to electronic passport readers, like the original passport.

I'm just going to get under my desk and roll up into a little ball.

No comments: