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World-first post-quantum biometric passport security demonstrated by Infineon, partners

World-first post-quantum biometric passport security demonstrated by Infineon, partners

A security controller made by semiconductor developer Infineon Technologies protects biometric and demographic data held in an e-passport from both conventional and quantum computer attacks, making the technology developed with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC) and Bundesdruckerei (German Federal Printing Office) the world’s first electronic passport to meet the security requirements for the upcoming quantum computing era.

The technology, currently on display at Trustech, “uses the cryptographic methods Dilithium and Kyber, which the U.S. national standardization institute NIST selected in July 2022 after a worldwide competition for post-quantum cryptography,” comments Fraunhofer AISEC’s Professor Marian Margraf.

“Based on that, we developed protocols for the passport that were then subjected to a further independent security evaluation.”

The prototype uses contactless data transfer from the e-passport to a border checkpoint terminal, but with a quantum computer-resistant version of the Extended Access Control (EAC) protocol. This also secures the passport holder’s biometric information during authentication.

The updated methods are still compatible with current established structures. The system was devised in the “PoQuID” joint research project, led by Fraunhofer and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

Mastercard recently revealed its approval for the first payment cards compatible with new EMVCo contactless specifications to withstand attacks from both traditional and quantum computers, developed by Giesecke+Devrient and Thales.

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