E-Passport cloned in five minutes

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Norwegian biometric passport

RFID chips, the major component of e-passports, emit radio signals that can be read at a short distance by an electronic reader.

Lukas Grunwald and Christian Bottger realised that they could clone an identical and undetectable e-passport. They downloaded the data from their own passport using an RFID reader (available from eBay) and then onto a blank chip thanks to a software they have developed, called RFdump. Doing so, they were able to clone an e-passport in less than five minutes.

Ironically, a spokesman from the UK Home Office said:

It is hard to see why anyone would want to access the information on the chip.

A European Union funded network of IT security experts has come out against the e-passport scheme. The experts said that it is not too late to roll back and rethink the ePassport.

Wikinews previously reported that Turkey, where there seems to be no discussion about the controversies surrounding RFID chips, is switching to e-passports towards the middle of next year.