George Mason University
Security Issues of E-Passports
Legacy paper book passports have problems like forgery and look-alike fraud. In order to overcome these fallacies and to achieve “global interoperability, reliability, durability, and practicality”, International Civil Aviation Organization has mandated its member countries to issue electronic passports, which utilize three technologies, viz., radio frequency identification, biometrics and public key infrastructure. While these technologies help speed the border control process and ease identification of travelers, they also raise new security and privacy risks.
By converging scattered information from a dozen scholarly publications on electronic passports, the author analyzes and assesses the benefits and drawbacks of electronic passports in this paper. Such passports need to be strengthened by utilizing authentication, access control and cryptography. Passport deployments need to mitigate the threats discovered by adopting secure implementation techniques. Since the failure to address risks arising from the radio frequency identification chip embedded in passports will put security and privacy of users in jeopardy, countries implementing electronic passports must adopt the best security mechanisms in creating infrastructure and technological domains to support electronic passports.
Keywords: RFID “Radio Frequency Identification”, e-Passport, ICAO "International Civil Aviation Organization", electronic passport, Security, MRTD “Machine Readable Travel Documents”.