How To Provide a Truly Trusted Identity: The Value of a Multi-tech Approach

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In the same way that a burglar might explore the vulnerabilities of a building, fraudsters are looking for the weak point that gives them access to an identity document. This is why it is imperative that ID technology never stops evolving.

To be truly effective in preventing attacks on an electronic ID document, such as a passport card or national ID, there must be harmony between the physical and digital worlds, each complementing the other. The physical “package” must protect the electronics through years of use and provide the first visual indicators of whether a document is both genuine and unaltered. Likewise, the integrated circuit inside the physical card must verify and control the transactions between the document and the outside world, often via a reader of some sort.

Which brings us to how and where the ID might be verified. There are many different scenarios where we need to demonstrate who we are: crossing a border, hiring a car, proving our age, etc. Sometimes the ID will be assessed by a machine; sometimes it will need to be visually examined by an agent; sometimes both. Regardless, the ID must perform in all real-world scenarios and must resist criminal attack. Technology enables this, but new technology is also available to those that would use it to make counterfeits or to alter genuine documents, usually as a means to perpetrate further crime. This could be done by simulating the appearance of a genuine document, altering the personal details, and/or using a stolen identity to make a fraudulent application for a genuine document, such as a national ID or voter registration card.

Such multiple attack types require multiple defenses, in and on the card. HID Global’s multi-tech approach provides this kind of protection against counterfeited credentials by incorporating layers of security, and of functionality – visible, invisible and secret – including:

• The latest chips and operating systems, providing secure interoperability;

• Exceptional physical defences, such as laser-engraved OSM (Optical Security Media), a technology that has not been successfully copied or altered in over 30 years with issuance of more than 100 million cards; and

• Sophisticated print and substrate features, layered throughout the ID.

However, to incorporate these multiple defences into a space that measures barely 3.5ml – less than the volume of a teaspoon – requires thoughtful design and ultra-thin components. Direct bonding of the chip to its antenna enables inclusion within exceptionally thin laminates, whilst sub-micron metal layers and diffractive structures come together in the OSM device. Many further combinations are possible, and the layered strength is enhanced by the synergy of multiple technologies.

To learn more about how HID Global’s multi-tech card embodies the principles of optimized functionality and future-proof security, click here.