Join Hands to Build a Smarter India: Sign in | Join now
News

Expert picks out loopholes in U.S. e-passports

Saturday, 17 April 2010, 21:55 Hrs   |    4 Comments
Print Email
Washington: Every new U.S. passport issued since 2007 has been outfitted with a computer chip, embedded on its back cover. Till recently hackers were able to access it from afar, but now such e-passports can only be read when they are opened.

The "e-passport" contains biometric data, electronic fingerprints and pictures of the holder, and a wireless radio frequency identification (RFID) transmitter.

Avishai Wool, professor at Tel Aviv University's (TAU) School of Electrical Engineering in Israel, has helped ensure that the chip in such e-passports can only be read when the passport is opened.

Now, a new study by Wool finds serious security drawbacks in similar chips that are being embedded in credit, debit and "smart" cards.

The vulnerabilities of this electronic approach - and the vulnerability of the private information contained in the chips - are becoming more acute.

Using simple devices constructed from $20 disposable cameras and copper cooking-gas pipes, Wool and his pupils Yossi Oren and Dvir Schirman have demonstrated how easily the cards' radio frequency (RF) signals can be disrupted.

Wool's latest research centres on the new "e-voting" technology being implemented in Israel. "We show how the Israeli government's new system based on the RFID chip is a very risky approach for security reasons," explains Wool.

"It allows hackers who are not much more than amateurs to break the system," Wool explains.

"One way to catch hackers, criminals and terrorists is by thinking like one."

In his lab, Wool constructed an attack mechanism - an RFID "zapper" - from a disposable camera. Replacing the camera's bulb with an RFID antenna, he showed how the EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) signal produced by the camera could destroy the data on nearby RFID chips such as ballots, credit cards or passports.

"In a voting system, this would be the equivalent of burning ballots - but without the fire and smoke," he says.

But there are some small steps that can be taken to make smart cards smarter, says Wool.

The easiest one is to shield the card with something as simple as aluminium foil to insulate the e-transmission. In the case of e-voting, a ballot box could be made of conductive materials.

The US State Department has already taken Wool's advice: since 2007, they've also added conductive fibres to the back of every American passport.

The work will be presented at the IEEE RFID conference in Orlando, Florida this month.
Source: IANS
Experts on SiliconIndia
Sunil  Bhat
Project Management
HCL Infosystems Limi
Haresh  Motirale
Founder Director
Brandniti
Jeya  Padmanaban
President
JP Research, Inc.
Sonal  Rochani
President
Shakti Foundation
Chetan  Nagaonkar
Managing Director
eStomi Technologies
Deepak  Gupta
Business Analyst
Wipro Technologies
Sarvesh  Vaidya
Senior Director - HR
Tangoe
Aarthi  G R
HRM Specialist
PlasmaGen
Sign Up for DailyDose and Read the Day's Highlights
Write your comment now
 
Reader's comments(4)
1: I’m really loving the contents of your blog. Hopefully you keep posting regularly. Thanks.
Posted by:plan b online - 28 Aug, 2011
2: Really interesting blog, keep up the good work!
Posted by:prednisone online - 27 Aug, 2011
3: Really interesting blog, keep up the good work!
Posted by:provera online - 27 Aug, 2011
4: Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2011
Posted by:buy lexapro online - 21 Aug, 2011
SPOTLIGHT
SiliconIndia About Us   |   Contact Us   |   Help   |   Community rules   |   Advertise with us   |   Sitemap   |  
News:       Technology   |   Enterprise   |   Gadgets   |   Startups   |   Finance   |   Business   |   Career   |   Magazine  |   Newsletter   |   News archive  
Cities:        CEO   |     Startup   |   Mobile   |   CIO   |   Women   |   BI   |   HR   |   SME   |   Cloud   |   Marketing   |   QA   |   Java   |   Web Developer  
Community:      Members   |   Blogs   |   Indian Entrepreneurs   |   Gyan   |   Advice   |   Community   |   Find   |   Events   |   CXO Insights  
Job Board:      Jobs   |   Freshers   |   Companies   |   HR Speak   |   Forum  
Online Courses:   Web Developer   |   Java Developer   |   CCNA Training   |   SEO   |   SAS   |   SQL Server 2005   |   J2EE
Education:   MBA   |   MCA   |   Engineering   |   Training Institute
Life:          Real Estate   |   Travel   |   Finance   |   Gadgets   |   Movie Reviews   |    Jokes  
Send your feedback and help us continue to improve SiliconIndia
© 2014 InfoConnect Web Technologies India Pvt Ltd. all rights reserved