A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about how easy it would be for a hacker to steal the information embedded in the computer chip inside your passport.
Friday the State Department warned 400 passport applicants of a security breach in its records system that may have left them open to identity theft. Although the breach is not related to how your personal information is stored in your passport, it does represent a major issue that only increases the fear some people have about how their private information is handled by the government and the private sector.
The State Department have already notified 383 people (most from Washington DC) that their passport application containing personal information, including Social Security number may have been illegally accessed and used to open fraudulent credit card accounts.
The breach was noticed back in March, but the State Department has not released any additional information on how it occurred, other than to say that it is still under investigation. So far one man has been arrested and one State Dpt. employee had been reassigned and might face further disciplinary action pending completion of the investigation
Tags: indentity theft, passport, security
In my old blog, I had describe some of the security risks associated with the new RFID tags that are being embeded into the new passports that the US and other countries are issuing.
In that post I wrote how easy would be for someone to steal your identity without even touching your passport simply by reading the RFID chip with a special scanner at a reasonable distance.
Now a group of hackers had gone a step further and demonstrated a technique to change the data stored in the RFID chip thus giving them the ability to crease fake passports with whatever information they choose.
They posted their finding and even the methodology they used to hack the passports on their website for the world to see.
Any person willing to spend $80.00 in cheap electronic equiptment can pretty much read your personal information from your passport and then move it to their own fake passport. Picture included.
Tags: hack, passport, security, US passport
New Passport Card
Since the government changed its rules requiring all US citizens to have a passport if they want to travel abroad, there had been a flood of passport applications which caused many delays and problems.
But now there is another alternative to passports. Since last month, the US government began issuing a “passport card”. This wallet size card, is similar to a Driver License but it can be used for people returning to the United States from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda. This makes it perfect for cruise passengers traveling to the Caribbean.
And there are even better news. The new passport card is cheaper. It cost $45.00 if you don’t have a regular passport ($20.00 if you do) and $35.00 for children. And it is valid for as long as a regular passport: 10 years
The only drawback is that it cannot be used for air travel or for places where you are required a Visa stamped in your passport.
You can request the new passport card already through the regular channels, such as post office, or the State Department
On a related news, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Thursday that it will propose allowing teenagers 18 and younger traveling with teams or organizations, and all children 15 or younger, to use a certified birth certificate to cross the border from Canada, instead of a passport.
The change is an attempt to solve the “team bus” problem, in which critics said school trips and games between teams of neighboring towns would be canceled under the new U.S. rules requiring a passport to cross the border.
Tags: passport, passport card, travel abroad, travel to canada, travel to mexico, US passport