New ID cards are supposed to be ‘unforgeable’ – but it took our expert 12 minutes to clone one, and programme it with false data,This chip is the vital security measure that, so the Government believes, will make identity cards ‘unforgeable’.
But as I watch, Laurie picks up a mobile phone and, using just the handset and a laptop computer, electronically copies the ID card microchip and all its information in a matter of minutes.
He then creates a cloned card, and with a little help from another technology expert, he changes all the information the card contains – the physical details of the bearer, name, fingerprints and so on. And he doesn’t stop there.
With a few more keystrokes on his computer, Laurie changes the cloned card so that whereas the original card holder was not entitled to benefits, the cloned chip now reads ‘Entitled to benefits’.
As a chilling twist, he adds a message that would be visible to any police officer or security official who scanned the card: ‘I am a terrorist – shoot on sight.’
And all of this has been done in such a way as to fool the electronic readers intended to check the ID card’s authenticity. It is, quite simply, a terrifying achievement.
For the implications of what he has demonstrated could scarcely be more serious. Laurie’s fake card could be used to fool banks, commit fraud and maybe even illegally claim benefits or free NHS care.
More disturbing still, it could be used to cover the tracks of terrorists planning atrocities on British or foreign soil. By any sensible measure, his demonstration, as part of a special Mail investigation, should be the final nail in the coffin of the Government’s £5.4-billion ID scheme.
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