A current Canadian Passport
A current Canadian Passport

(RFIDWorld.ca) A British IT expert warns that Canada’s new RFID tagged E-passports can easily be hacked into and are not secure enough.

Adam Laurie, Director of Aperture Labs Limited pointed out that using a biometric chip does not make the passport secure enough because any other individual can buy the equipment needed—just for $100—which can be used to clone the information on the passport.  In addition to that, he added that there is even a free version of software that can do the same cloning job for anyone.

To show how easy it was to hack into and obtain someone’s passport information, Laurie and his team made a fake passport for the dead singer Elvis Presley in 2008 and used it in an automated passport scanner.  After being scanned, the machine was not able to read that it was a forged passport.  The passport went through as completely valid when scanned at the Amsterdam Airport.

A spokesman from Passport Canada retaliated against Laurie’s argument and said that the fake Elvis Presley passport made in 2008 is outdated and since then the RFID technology being used for the passports has been upgraded.  One example of enhancement he stated is the digital signature which can verify the authenticity of the electric passport.  However, only twelve countries have put the digital signature for passport checking into place so a risk still remains, according to Laurie.

In the aftermath of tighter border security, many countries have upgraded to electronic passports.  In 2009 over 57% of all passports issued globally, were electronic passports.  Also, for higher security measures, in 2007, the US made it mandatory for Canadians to show their passports at the borders rather than previous accepted documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses and social insurance cards.

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