View Full Version : Anybody here had to pay for a new 'electronic' passport?

08-17-2008, 02:56 AM
Ask for your money back.
See if they give it to you.


Kiwi expert cracks chip passport

A Kiwi computer whiz is among a small group of international scientists to prove electronic passports can be easily copied, changed and passed off as genuine.
Auckland University researcher Peter Gutmann found a way to program a new signature into an altered passport microchip allowing it to be recognised as authentic by the reading technology.
Gutmann, British computer expert Adam Laurie and Amsterdam academic Jeroen van Beek successfully copied the contents of a British boy's electronic passport to another chip and replaced his digital photograph with one of Osama bin Laden.
The altered chip was reprogrammed with a signature key and recognised as genuine by the International Civil Aviation Organisation's passport reading software, UK's The Times newspaper reported.
Gutmann told the Sunday Star-Times his role in the experiment was "embarrassingly simple".
His colleagues were credited with the more complex tasks of cloning and altering the chip's data which is meant to be secure. "It was a three-person effort."
Gutmann became internationally well-known in the late 90s for developing a highly sophisticated but easy-to-use encryption security kit for businesses, and later his scathing and widely publicised criticism of Microsoft's Vista operating system.
He told the Star-Times security experts have questioned the safety of microchip or electronic passports for years.
The move towards "biometric" passports which store personal information and a digital photo of the owner on a microchip have been driven by the US to beef up security. Passports issued since October 2004 had to have a chip or the holders would be denied access to the US.
The e-passport technology "was never really robust to begin with", Gutmann said. "This was the whole point... People like us had been pointing out that there were serious security problems with this thing for years. We set out to show that we're not just blowing smoke, there really are security problems.
"The Bush administration's ongoing paranoia campaign" had forced the rest of the world, including New Zealand, to adopt the passports, he said.
The move to introduce them had always been more politically driven than technically sound, he said.
Gutmann said he had been tinkering with a passport reader and some "smart card" chips at home at the beginning of the year. The chips are identical to those used in the passports.
"It was more out of interest... It's completely standard technology. I just got the data to see what format it was in."
He managed to reprogram the chip so it could be recognised by the smart card reader, but "it didn't seem very useful". When he learnt colleagues overseas were working on the passport project, he offered his discovery.
He said rumours have been circulating of people travelling to Europe and the US on electronic passports bearing the names of dead celebrities. But this was the first time one had been publicly altered.
"I don't know if our results were surprising. It's been known for a long time. Security people have said this is not a great way of doing things. We just did a proof-of-concept."
People were always updating and cracking old security technology, he said. It would never be completely secure unless humans were constantly monitoring it. The paper passports were far more difficult and labour intensive to duplicate, he said.
The men purposely did not alter the passport with believable information, hence bin Laden.
"It was very funny. Because really, we're all geeks, and it was quite a cool technical challenge, and it was cool to say that we had done it."

Can we stop calling it 'The war on terror' and start calling it 'The war on common sense'?

08-17-2008, 03:10 AM
You can't fight terror when you use terror to fight it.

08-17-2008, 03:36 AM
No, and stupid probably doesn't work either.......:)

The men purposely did not alter the passport with believable information, hence bin Laden.
"It was very funny. Because really, we're all geeks, and it was quite a cool technical challenge, and it was cool to say that we had done it."

Here's the thing, these guys were just mucking around and they cracked it and went public for bragging rights.
When did the serious secret types crack it?
Or in other words...How long has this technology been useless?

08-17-2008, 04:49 AM
You all need NEO's passport.


The Bigfella
08-17-2008, 05:45 AM
I'm sure that's deep and meaningful.

08-17-2008, 05:59 AM
I'm sure that's deep and meaningful.

Its a curiosity dumbarse. I got your deep and meaningful hangin':D

I am bailing out of here before Ego boy trashes another thread.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-17-2008, 05:59 AM
The British Government owes me 360 quid.

We all knew this would happen but the political idiots went ahead with it.

Proof either that the world is ruled by lizard men or that the only qualification required to suceed in "democratic" politics is an ego the size of a house, a thick skin and boundless energy. Common sense, let alone brains, is a handicap.


08-17-2008, 06:08 AM
Andrew , you have to appear thoughtful ,yet decisive , bold yet wise ,have good teeth and be able to convince the average punter (or 55% of them ) of the above in 30 seconds .:(:D.

Phillip Allen
08-17-2008, 06:43 AM
I won't say I knew it would happen but the probability approached 100%

The Bigfella
08-17-2008, 07:31 AM
I did some work for a company developing the local biometrics system for frequent travellers. Facial scans were compared to pre-stored images. Interesting technology - but more for airline flight crew and fequent travellers.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
08-17-2008, 10:14 AM
And just what would a kiwi want with a passport?

08-17-2008, 10:32 AM
And just what would a kiwi want with a passport?

So their beautiful women can inhabit the backpacker bars of Europe of course.

A truly laudable effort.