3,000 stolen UK passports - of course they can be hacked

I was surprised to hear on the TV news this week that the Home Office is claiming that the 3,000 smart passports stolen were secure and non-hackable.

If that's the case, then how come experts said they were worth around 150 beer tokens each on the black market?

All was revealed on the No2ID Web portal, which said that "it demonstrated more than a year ago how it was possible to get all the data off an e-passport without opening the envelope it was delivered in."

According to NO2ID, the theft of the smart passports highlights the fact that there is a demand for them from sophisticated criminals.

The Home Office, however, says the site, "does not seem to have much imagination about how it could be used to exploit system holes in practice."

However, says the site, they might as well not bother, "as most of the things for which a passport is useful - thanks again to the government busing its own documents by tacitly insisting they are widely used as

evidence of `identity'" - do not involve going anywhere near an electronic reader."

Oops - sounds as though NO2ID isn't too impressed with the British government and its use of technology. Check out more on this interesting (fx: wink, wink) story here...