UK Biometric Passports - whats the aeriel for?

#1
I've just renewed my passport and recieved one of the new biometric ones.

The instruction leaflet that came with says it contains an aerial as well as a chip.

FFS Why? What is it for and what is it supposed to do?

Do I need to remember my old comsec and antenna siting drills? Can I jam it?

Do I need to carry the passport in a lead lined bag or small Faraday cage?

Is it time to get myself a tin foil hat?

:? :? :? :? :? :? :?

Rodney2q
 
#2
It's a passive chip, it needs an induced current to work plus the normal RFID comms hence the AE, just pop it in the microwave for 30 secs to kill it.
 
#5
CQMS said:
It's a passive chip, it needs an induced current to work plus the normal RFID comms hence the AE, just pop it in the microwave for 30 secs to kill it.
That wont kill it, it is designed to reconfigure and redesign from a liquid composite alloy.

It is there to read your mind and transmit your location to the House of Commons at all times... and record your methane emmissions from farts.
 
#6
Stewart/Stand are good for RFID proof (shielded) wallets, their line in passport holders might be worth a look for those concerned.

edit: Don't know if this one is any good but you get the gist Linky
 
#7
chocolate_frog said:
CQMS said:
It's a passive chip, it needs an induced current to work plus the normal RFID comms hence the AE, just pop it in the microwave for 30 secs to kill it.
That wont kill it, it is designed to reconfigure and redesign from a liquid composite alloy.

It is there to read your mind and transmit your location to the House of Commons at all times... and record your methane emmissions from farts.
Probably about the most believable piece of information that I've read all week.

Everything else that's been in the media over the last 8 days has just been so bad, low and deceitful, that its actually been very hard to comprehend that it's true....!
 
#8
You wanna get your eyes read and popped in your little maroon book

Minutes of entertainment wondering whether staring into a screen is working or whther the hundreds of proles are gonna smirk and snigger as you join the back of the passport checking queue
 
#11
CQMS said:
It's a passive chip, it needs an induced current to work plus the normal RFID comms hence the AE, just pop it in the microwave for 30 secs to kill it.
I read that's likely to induce enough current to set your passport on fire.

Apparently, the passport office have been seeing enough people asking for replacements due to scorch marks round the chip that they now know what's going on. Smacking it with a hammer, thus cracking the chip, is the way to go.

Don't worry too much though. The chip was selected after extensive research by gov.uk experts - therefore it's cr@p. Although your passport is good for 10 years, the chip is only good for two years.

American passports have a wire mesh Faraday cage built in to the cover. The chip can only be read when the cover is open to protect from remote identity theft.

Naturally, the UK government failed to consider this so your UK passport is vulnerable if you don't keep it in one of the shielded wallets that are becoming available.

Currently, the chip only contains the same data as the back page of your passport but in a machine readable form so you've little to worry about unless you need to get your passport out at Lagos International. Having the little RFID logo on your passport means you can get through immigration more quickly. Remember - resistance is futile.

What you do need to worry about is phase 2 of the biometrics scam, err scheme. It's denoted by the following logo:-

 
#12
Some useful info on how to skim an RFID passport.

The equipment needed to skim an RFID chip neither has to be large nor expensive. Nokia sells cell phones capable of reading RFID chips. Texas Instruments sells kits to do the same thing.

In May, researchers at the University of Tel Aviv created a skimmer from electronics hobbyist kits costing less than $110. The equipment was small enough to fit into a briefcase or be disguised in any manner of luggage or clothes that could hide the 15-inch copper tube antenna.

The antenna boosts the read-range from a few inches to a few feet. To extend the range of surreptitious access much further, a second piece of equipment is needed to fake the RFID reader into sending a "read" signal, which is then relayed via radio waves to the skimmer's reader near the targeted RFID chip.

In 2005, a researcher at Cambridge extended the range to about 160 feet while successfully accessing a contactless smart card's details.

ID thieves who figure out a way around the security precaution on RFID passports, which includes anti-skimming material in the cover, can use this method in a crowded airport terminal or hotel lobby to conceivably "borrow" someone's ID data and spoof it to another official reader, effectively cloaking themselves in another's persons ID.

Or they could learn a person's nationality, or confirm the identity of someone they were searching for to harm.

"It's a great way for unfriendly elements to set up their own RFID scanning systems and pick nationalities right out of a crowd...If you put an RFID scanner in a doorway or maybe a lamp-post," said Sterling, "you can just sit there automatically counting the passing passports."

Even if the skimmed data is encrypted -- as e-Passport information would be -- skilled hackers could potentially save the information and crack it elsewhere.

Researchers at the Dutch security test lab Riscure cracked the encryption on a mocked up RFID passport in two hours using a PC in 2005.

U.S. passports are issued for ten years, which means the RFID chip technology of those passports, along with their vulnerabilities, will be floating around for a decade. Technology would have to "stop cold" Schneier of Counterpane says for improvements in skimming and hacking equipment not to occur.

Moss said the State Department "recognizes that technology will change during the 10 year life cycle of US passports" and that's why it's focusing on more than one technology to protect data.

Sterling, however, compares RFID passports to a "nice yellow armband" -- a big sign on your body announcing your identity. "Would you pay anything for that device?" Sterling asks. "Would you buy it in a travel store because you thought it made you feel safer? Or would you conclude that this technology existed so that you could be treated like a can on a grocery-food shelf?"

Schneier says there are a number of ways to improve the security of RFID passports but the best trick is to not create RFID passports at all. "Someone in the government got it in their head to make it RFID. Yes, its cool technology," said Schneier, "but don't do it because it's cool."
 
#13
I have a DIFRwear (http://www.difrwear.com/) passport holder - blocks the signal quite nicely. (I've tested it myself with a reader so I know for sure it works) Also works blocking things like Oyster from being read remotely until you open it, which is more of a concern. (A lot of stuff has serial numbers in it that can be read remotely which uniquely identify you - a passport doesn't!)

In practice you need the machine-readable part of the back page of the passport - the bit with all the >>>s on it - to decode the data on the chip. That's one reason they still show your passport to the machine at airports even if it's biometric. (Also saves the immigration staff from having to think too hard and figure out what to do with a passport - they just do the same thing regardless of what it is) It may be possible for governments to read their own citizens passport IDs remotely without this, but if it is that information isn't in the public domain. Given there are people that literally take the chips on those things apart atom by atom to see what makes them tick, it's likely we'd know about it by now if anyone big was up to that.
 

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