Estonia suspends security digital certificates for up to 760,000 state-issued electronic ID-cards over Identity-Theft risk

Pierluigi Paganini November 03, 2017

It has happened, one of the most cyber-savvy states, Estonia decided to block Electronic ID Cards over identity theft risk.

On Thursday, Estonia announced that it would suspend security digital certificates for up to 760,000 state-issued electronic ID-cards that are using the buggy chips to mitigate the risk of identity theft.

The decision comes after IT security researchers recently discovered a vulnerability in the chips used in the cards manufactured by the Swiss company Trub AG that open the doors to malware-based attacks.

The Prime Minister Juri Ratas announced the decision to suspend security certificates for cards until their owners download an update to patch the flaw.

“The functioning of an e-state is based on trust and the state cannot afford identity theft happening to the owner of an Estonian ID card,” explained Prime Minister Juri Ratas on Thursday. 

“By blocking the certificates of the ID cards at risk, the state is ensuring the safety of the ID card,” 

“As far as we currently know, there has been no instances of e-identity theft, but the threat assessment of the Police and Border Guard Board and the Information System Authority indicates that this threat has become real,”

In September, the Gemalto-owned announced they were helping the Estonian government on solving the problem.

Since October 31, all users having faulty ID cards can update their security certificates remotely and at Estonian police and border guard service points.

As of Thursday night, around 40,000 users had already updated their certificates.

Estonia cyber

Estonia is considered the most technological European Country, it tested e-voting since 2005, for this reason, it is called E-stonia

Estonia has already issued 1.3 million electronic ID cards offering citizens online access to a huge number of services through the “e-government” state portal. The Estonian electronic ID cards have been manufactured by the Swiss company Trub AG and its successor Gemalto AG since 2001.

According to the Government experts, other cards based on the same faulty chips are exposed to the same cyber risk.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – electronic ID-cards, Estonia)

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