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New government ID cards easily hacked

DPA/The Local · 24 Aug 2010, 12:16

Published: 24 Aug 2010 12:16 GMT+02:00

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Public broadcaster ARD’s show “Plusminus” teamed up with the hacker organisation the Chaos Computer Club to find out how secure the controversial new radio-frequency (RIHD) chips were.

Set to air Tuesday evening, the report shows how they used the basic new home scanning machines that will go along with the cards, and found that scammers would have few problems extracting personal information. This includes two fingerprint scans, which German citizens can opt out of, and a new six-digit PIN number meant to be used as a digital signature for official government business and beyond.

The home scanners will be necessary for use with home computers to process the personal data for official business and possibly even online shopping.

The Interior Ministry has promised to sponsor the distribution of one million scanners with some €24 million set aside by the government’s recent stimulus package. Some banks and computer magazines also plan to provide free promotional starter kits.

In an interview with the show, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said he saw no immediate reason to act on the alleged security issue.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile on Tuesday the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) rejected the Plusminus' criticism of the new ID card. The agency’s personal identification expert Jens Bender said the card was secure and called the combination of an integrated chip with a PIN number a “significant security improvement compared to today’s standard process of user name and password.”

But a classic Trojan horse program that logs keystrokes remained a threat, he admitted, because users must use keyboards in addition to the scanners.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:15 August 24, 2010 by William Thirteen
oh boy, Mossad is gonna love this!
14:38 August 24, 2010 by XFYRCHIEF
And people are worried about StreetView? Any time you want you can see a years old photo of my front yard. I guess one should erect a 4 meter high wall around their yard to insure no one invades their privacy.
17:31 August 24, 2010 by freechoice
wow you can now track anyone with this card...awesome!

can't get rid of this big brother is watching you feeling...
23:37 August 24, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, they just need to be more creative, in designing a criminal proof system. I'm sure there is a better way.
02:49 August 25, 2010 by aubreyfarmer
Is one's privacy no longer a right? When did it get downgraded to a privilege? Governments are continually testing the limits to see how far they can go. Are we all so brainwashed and apathetic that so long as we have food and shelter we will forfeit our liberty, privacy and freedom of speech? Cameras and recording devices monitoring your every move, even in your own home. Government spies looking at your e-mail and listening in on your phone conversations. George Orwell would be shocked. What has trust and complacency gotten humanity in the past. Death and enslavement at the hands of despotic dictators and tyrants. Do you understand that the globalists have a new plan for the restructuring of global society. The Royalty of wealthy corporations allowing the peons to grovel for the crumbs that fall from the table. Wake up, we are all in danger by eugenicists in control of numerous global governmental bodies intent on destroying national sovereignty. The financial crisis is just the first step. Get involved. Get organized. Take your country back.
06:30 August 25, 2010 by parografik
Was it ever a right? It almost seems as if it was only a byproduct of inadequate technology.
07:51 August 25, 2010 by MonkeyMania
@aubreyfarmer. Methinks you are right. These disasters are in reality man made reasons to take our privacy and other human rights from us. Since the twin towers were brought down by the American government and the corporations instigated this latest global financial melt down the mass populations have been plunged into never ending debt which they will never get rid of whilst their tax money is paying to buy out the instigators of this crisis. And whilst all that is happening we are having our privacy invaded more and more every day in the so called guise of national security. Freedom of speech is a joke as the media is owned by big corp anyway. When will it all stop? It will stop when we are all chained to our desks and allow ourselves to be monitored by software that will measure our metabolism to make sure we are not thinking of our freedom. Companies are now using this financial crisis to erode further any rights we have as employees. All in the fake view of making us fear for our survival. http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3193480.ece

George Orwell only got one thing wrong when he wrote 1984. He got the year wrong. The rest has happened. I wonder if this post will get removed????
13:01 August 25, 2010 by wwessing
this just show you that the bible is being fullfill the bible speak of thing like this and a one world goverment.

william fred wessinger
15:55 August 25, 2010 by slawek
It would seem like the major point of the new ID cards is protection from falsification. If data can be stolen or not is only secondary and non relevant. That's how I read Maiziere's and the other guy's statements.
13:25 August 26, 2010 by Prufrock2010
The bible talks about ID cards with data chips that can be hacked by computer geeks using Trojan horse keylogger viruses? Man, that's some up-to-date version of the bible you've got there! Is it the Kasperski version or the Norton version?
21:31 September 2, 2010 by Cellar
"`The agency¦#39;s personal identification expert Jens Bender said the card was secure and called the combination of an integrated chip with a PIN number a ¦quot;significant security improvement compared to today¦#39;s standard process of user name and password.¦quot; "

Notice how all governments will always say "it is secure", just like all banks always do. "100% secure, honest". Real security professionals laugh at that sort of claim. It means snake oil is being sold. This "expert" is a propaganda mouthpiece, not someone who knows about security, or even about personal identification. Let him answer the first question: Why?

What is the compelling reason to force us to carry our name, date of birth, federal and local tax numbers, and so on and so forth, always with us, stored on a card also containing our picture and our fingerprints? Are we all assumed criminal until proven innocent? Or what? Just so we can show the card? And what are you going to do with that information? Store the fact that it has been shown, to whom, where, when? Then what? Why do you want to know all that? Trust you? When you clearly don't trust us? What for?

I have yet to see a good answer, one defendible toward us the citizens, from any official or "identity proponent". Yes, there are wonderful tracking and analysis opportunities for law pre-enforcement and marketing divination. But superstitious or not, some things are best left uncounted.

This quote is a choice quote, too: "today's standard process" isn't tied to your legal identity, the handing over of which enables impersonation. So this card thing is probably psysically suitably hard to forge. But for over-the-internet use, that cold hard fact is completely irrelevant. For there all you have to do is have the data. Actual card not required. Whoops.

As long as officials keep on overlooking this huge elephant in the room, and for that matter as long as they keep clinging to a centuries old idea of "paper identity", this sort of embarrasing gaffe will remain the mainstay of "identity management" in the digital age.
23:39 September 12, 2010 by cklb
by the way, why don't we combine drivers licence and ID-card as it is done here in Indiana???
09:31 September 15, 2010 by seniorexpat
There are at least two errors in the text: RFID is the correct acronym, and "scanners" should be understood as "card readers".
04:22 January 23, 2011 by leepie
pay attention all you christians... this talks about chips and new id numbers...this is 1 of many stories about this kind of thing....the bible also talks about in THE END TIMES we will be a moneyless sociality with a number or chip put on our hand or forehead....everything we buy will have to be done with this chip oe number being scanned...we already have id theft, what more reason do they need to prove to the world that a more permentant id is needed
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