G&D operating system for biometric passports gets German certification

Source: Giesecke & Devrient

The new STARCOS 3.3 Passport Edition operating system from the Munich-based technology group Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) has been awarded the two required quality certificates by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), confirming that it complies with the highest international security standard for passports (Common Criteria EAL 4+).

Specially designed security mechanisms ensure that passports and identity cards can remain in use for many years. Added benefits include the speed and flexibility with which the chip can be personalized and its interoperability with a wide range of different card-reader systems. These features make STARCOS® 3.3 Passport Edition one of the world's most powerful and stable operating systems for biometric passports.

STARCOS 3.3 Passport Edition offers the ultimate in flexibility. The category of passport and the corresponding security standards do not need to be defined until the time at which the personal data are incorporated. Many countries have chosen to introduce biometric features in their electronic travel documents in gradual stages. The type of data to be stored on the embedded chip is left to the discretion of the passport-issuing authority. In the first instance, a digital photo is stored in the chip alongside the personal data used to identify the holder of the passport. If the need arises to issue passports and identity cards offering a higher level of security, additional biometric data such as fingerprint images can be added to the data stored on the chip. No further modifications are required to the actual document or the operating system. This system is thus a future-proof investment.

These features make STARCOS 3.3 Passport Edition the ideal solution for countries planning to augment security standards on a gradual basis, and whose main interest lies in cost-effectiveness. It enables passport authorities to simplify their inventory processes and reduce costs, while at the same time guaranteeing a high output of personalized security documents. STARCOS 3.3 Passport Edition provides an extremely rapid means of writing even substantial volumes of biometric data to the chip. The operating system's performance and interoperability have been demonstrated in numerous international field trials using reading devices provided by a variety of manufacturers.

STARCOS 3.3 Passport Edition supports all categories of passports envisaged by the European Union and the ICAO. The biometric data are protected against attempted forgery and identity theft by a number of special mechanisms. The system makes a distinction between passports that don't contain fingerprint images - protected by Basic Access Control - and passports containing more sensitive data - protected by Extended Access Control. A supplementary Active Authentication function can provide an additional safeguard by identifying forged copies of passports.

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