from the security-as-an-afterthought dept
Meanwhile, over in the UK, an investigation has found that the chips in the supposedly "fakeproof" e-passports are easily cloned, manipulated and passed through the checking machine -- which is especially worrisome given that 3,000 blank e-passports were stolen just last week. Of course, people have talked about the possibility of such hacks for years -- even before they were put in place -- to show how silly it was to think they were secure. And, of course, the best response comes from the UK gov't. After being presented with the fact that the chips can be changed or modified, the statement from the government was: "No one has yet been able to demonstrate that they are able to modify, change or alter data within the chip. If any data were to be changed, modified or altered it would be immediately obvious to the electronic reader." If you keep saying it, maybe you can pretend it's true.
In both cases, though, the striking thing is that these aren't "surprise" vulnerabilities. They should have been somewhat obvious to those who crafted these systems in the first place. Both are now working on "patches" to deal with the problems, but it's pretty difficult to completely patch a system that's so widespread -- and either way it will take some time. So why weren't these systems designed with better security in the first place?