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British "Secure" Passports Cracked

mivok Re:"This doesn't matter" spin (305 comments)

Actually, what the home office spokesman said sounds pretty sensible. The electronic part doesn't have to be more secure than the paper part.
As I understand it, the chip currently contains no more information than what is printed. If you can physically read the passport by looking at it (or taking a picture or whatever), then you have all the information needed to clone the passport without looking at the RFID chip. If you haven't seen the paper part of the passport, then you don't have the key and can't read the RFID part (unless you can crack the encryption without knowing the key). I don't see the problem here.

Of course, if the RFID chip has more information on it than what is displayed on the paper part (fingerprints for example), then there is a problem. As somebody else commented however, when that starts happening, they're going to mandate authentication of the person/machine querying the information using public key cryptography.

more than 8 years ago


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