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Spain and Germany to test cross-border digital ID

Hacker steals over 280,000 personal identity photos in Estonia
Spain and Germany to test cross-border digital ID

The Governments of Spain and Germany recently signed an agreement to develop a joint cross-border pilot program for digital ID, Planet Storyline reports.

Part of the European Commission’s plan of developing a European digital identity, the new pilot program will enable citizens to prove their identity and access public and private digital services in both countries.

The ‘open and decentralized’ identity ecosystem pilot, which is open for other EU countries to join, will be reportedly utilized in a variety of sectors, including tourism, e-commerce, and banking.

More than 60 German institutions are already part of the country’s national digital identity ecosystem, which is based on the principles of self-sovereign identity (SSI).

Aiming to tackle issues related to the centralization of personal data such as large and potentially vulnerable identity databases, SSI is also a core principle of the new pilot between Germany and Spain.

The vision of an EU digital ID, which could be based on or compatible with SSI, extends these benefits to citizens of the whole European Union, allowing them to link their national digital identities with other personal documents, such as driver’s licenses, qualifications, and bank accounts.

This information will then be held securely in a digital wallet, allowing individuals to access specific online services beyond national borders and by sharing only the personal data necessary to do so.

Estonia’s state information system hacked

While the benefits of a shared, decentralized digital ID across the EU are clear, the way these systems are built and deployed remains paramount for the privacy and security of citizens.

Hacking attacks are on the rise all around the world, particularly fueled by pandemic-related scams.

Estonia is the latest country to fall victim to such malicious attempts, with a hacker recently stealing over 280,000 personal identity photos of citizens, together with their personal names and ID codes.

The news was reported by ERR, and allegedly saw the malicious actor, apparently residing in Tallinn, hack into Estonia’s state information system, then perpetrate the crime using a malware network and forged digital certification.

However, according to Oskar Gross, head of the central criminal police cybercrime office, the hacker was not able to access digital state services with the stolen data. The hacker was found and the materials confiscated. Individuals whose photos were stolen have been notified.

In addition, IT and foreign trade minister Andres Sutt, who participated in a press conference with Gross last week, said the attack calls for a prompt replacement of some older, legacy data systems and solutions.

Biometrics are widely regarded as one of the best technologies to secure online systems and consequently reduce their potential vulnerabilities.

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