Ireland now has RFID passports

Back in February, I wrote about some Dutch hackers remotely reading Dutch RFID passports, and my email to the Irish Passport Office enquiring about their plans.

They never bothered writing back; I guess they were too busy implementing the damn things :( Their new ‘ePassports’ are now mandatory for new Irish passports:

The chip technology allows the information stored in an Electronic Passport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.

“special chip readers at a close distance” and/or “random criminals looking for Irish victims at a distance of 30 feet”, I guess.

Here’s the slides for Riscure’s attack on the Dutch passports. Irish passports are similarly using “Basic Access Control”. I wonder if Irish passport numbers are sequential, since that seems to be a key part of their attack?

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  1. Posted October 18, 2006 at 14:44 | Permalink

    I haven’t looked into this, but from what’s caught my peripheral vision, I think a layer or two of tinfoil is enough to protect against RFID readers.

    I don’t see this discussed in those slides – pity there’s not a recording.

    At WSIS 2005, where participants all has RFID tags badges, Richard Stallman started his speech by explaining this and offering his roll of tinfoil to the audience members:

  2. Posted October 18, 2006 at 14:56 | Permalink

    Ciaran —

    Yep, tinfoil apparently shields RFID chips nicely.

    in fact, I heard recently that the US plans to modify their passports to include a built-in layer of shielding — which is definitely an improvement, but makes me wonder what exactly was the point in adding the RFID chip in the first place?

  3. Posted November 12, 2006 at 20:24 | Permalink

    It seems like the whole EU is going this way. My UK passport is rfid (sorry – biometric).