Security Flaw in Estonian National ID Card
We have no idea how bad this really is:
On 30 August, an international team of researchers informed the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA) of a vulnerability potentially affecting the digital use of Estonian ID cards. The possible vulnerability affects a total of almost 750,000 ID-cards issued starting from October 2014, including cards issued to e-residents. The ID-cards issued before 16 October 2014 use a different chip and are not affected. Mobile-IDs are also not impacted.
My guess is that it’s worse than the politicians are saying:
According to Peterkop, the current data shows this risk to be theoretical and there is no evidence of anyone’s digital identity being misused. “All ID-card operations are still valid and we will take appropriate actions to secure the functioning of our national digital-ID infrastructure. For example, we have restricted the access to Estonian ID-card public key database to prevent illegal use.”
And because this system is so important in local politics, the effects are significant:
In the light of current events, some Estonian politicians called to postpone the upcoming local elections, due to take place on 16 October. In Estonia, approximately 35% of the voters use digital identity to vote online.
But the Estonian prime minister, Jüri Ratas, said at a press conference on 5 September that “this incident will not affect the course of the Estonian e-state.” Ratas also recommended to use Mobile-IDs where possible. The prime minister said that the State Electoral Office will decide whether it will allow the usage of ID cards at the upcoming local elections.
The Estonian Police and Border Guard estimates it will take approximately two months to fix the issue with faulty cards. The authority will involve as many Estonian experts as possible in the process.
This is exactly the sort of thing I worry about as ID systems become more prevalent and more centralized. Anyone want to place bets on whether a foreign country is going to try to hack the next Estonian election?
EDITED TO ADD (9/18): More details.