ID card hacked, cloned in 12 minutes

The new identity card has been hacked into in twelve minutes, according to a report.

Using simply a laptop PC and Nokia mobile phone, IT expert Adam Laurie was able to copy all the data on a card, create a clone and change the information on the clone, said a report in the Daily Mail.

The hack was reportedly conducted on one of the ID cards already issued to foreign nationals.

Laurie was able to easily change the information on the clone, the newspaper reported. He changed data including name, physical data, fingerprints and other information.

The data was changed from “not entitled to benefits” to “entitled to benefits”. In data accessible to police, he entered the following message: “I am a terrorist, shoot on sight”.

The national identity cards, due to be rolled out to UK citizens who want one from 2010, will contain the same technology as the foreign nationals card, according to the paper.

But a Home Office spokesperson told Computerworld UK that reports of the breach were “absolute rubbish”.

It had seen “no evidence” that personal data was accessible or changeable, and the card had "excellent" security, the Home Office said.

Nevertheless, the ID scheme has in recent times faced uncertainty. In July, home secretary Alan Johnson said the controversial national ID cards would no longer be compulsory. A contract to produce the cards has also been pushed back until after a general election, which could decide their future.

The Conservative party has said that if it won a general election, it would scrap ID cards.

But even if ID cards are not ever rolled out nationally, the database containing the data will still be created and used for biometric passports.

Guy Herbert of privacy campaign group NO2ID said: "It is that database which will deliver unprecedented power over our lives to Whitehall and make the Home Office king in Whitehall. The card is an excuse to build the database.”

The Daily Mail called the hack “the final nail in the coffin” of the scheme.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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