The move from physical to digital isn’t just affecting media, but everything. From music to train tickets and now ID, Australia’s new digital driver’s license scheme is just one step towards an entirely digital future. As it turns out, we may be rushing things.
Australia’s Digital Driver’s License is easy to forge
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Australia’s much-hyped impossible to forge digital driver’s license is actually easy to fake. Via Ars, the phone-based ID is so easy to fake that it can be done in “well under an hour”.
Launched in 2019, it has taken a total of 30 months for fraudulent digital IDs to become prominent. Altered IDs do anything from altering the age of a person to get into bars all the way to a full fake identity.
Even worse, the technique used to do this is said to not “require any special hardware or expensive software”. Additionally, the faux identification can generate completely false IDs with no issue.
YouTuber DVULN showed the process in a swift ten minute video. In order to forge a license, users only have to backup their iOS or Android devices with the DDL app, decrypt the license, alter basic details, re-encrypt it and restore the iPhone backup.
Why does this work so easily?
The reason that Australia’s social driver’s license platform is so easily faked is due to the way it works. Essentially, there is no verification process with government servers to check an ID is as it should be.
As it turns out, the IDs only generate a QR code based on the string associated with the initial real ID. When bars, venues, et cetera scan this QR code, it’s flagged as a real license.
There are easy ways for this to be fixed. For example, Apple regularly adds backup exemptions into iOS updates. This means that the government could bar the DDL app from being able to be backed up, thus circumventing this issue for non-jailbroken devices.
Additionally, the DDL app could have some form of internet-based checking feature. However, this would mean that only those with an internet connection could use their digital driver’s license, thus restricting its usefulness.
The government doubled down
Despite proof that the digital driver’s license system is incredibly easy to bypass, the government remains steadfast that it’s secure. Secure NSW, the department behind the digital ID, fails to see an issue.
Secure NSW does state that “altering the DDL is against the law”. However, it still stands by its claims that the digital version is “more secure than the plastic card”.
As it stands, the issues with the digital pass are still ongoing, and there’s no sign of a fix in the works.