German gov pooh-poohs biometric ID card hack
Nicht ein biggie
German hackers successfully used off-the-shelf kit to extract personal data from the federal government's supposedly secure ID cards, but the government has downplayed the significance of the attack.
The biometric ID cards store a scan of a user's fingerprints along with a six-digit PIN that can be used to digitally sign official forms. Hackers from the Chaos Computer Club, however, were able to use home scanners that work with the cards to extract personal information including a fingerprint scan and the six-digit PIN from RFID the chip embedded in the cards.
The hack was demonstrated on the Plusminus show on German TV channel ARD. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, interviewed on the show, said there was no reason to alter the technology or postpone a roll-out of the cards, which are due to be introduced nationally from November.
Security experts from the the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) were similarly sanguine about the hack. Jens Bender, a personal identification expert at the BSI, said the card and integrated PIN number offered "significant security improvement compared to today's standard process of user name and password", English language German news site The Local reports. ®
Kein Biggie, surely?
Re: Is it so bad
I point to the Mythbusters episode where they cracked the fingerprint scanner security measure in several different ways. The same things have been used against just about every other fingerprint based authentication system. An unattended fingerprint based authentication is as good as owned already.
So yeah, if you can get the fingerprint + PIN + card ID from one of these cards, you can do remote everything even if you do need fingerprints to authenticate over the internet, which does seem unlikely. Fingerprint scanners aren't that cheap and the readers are meant to be very cheap.
Yes, it is...
CCC has proved before that fingerprints are quite insecure, and that a glass of wine, touched by the victim, and some tape is all you need to fool certain fingerprint reading devices. The also published the fingerprints of former German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble: http://www.h-online.com/newsticker/news/item/CCC-publishes-fingerprints-of-German-Home-Secretary-734713.html