(CNBC) — Researchers in the Netherlands have found what they say is a way to make it impossible for criminals to forge passports, ID cards or credit cards.
P.W.H. Pinkse and colleagues at the University of Twente developed a method for authenticating documents that solves two of the biggest problems with preventing attackers from forging documents. And they did so by using principles derived from quantum physics. (In a very oversimplified nutshell, quantum physics involves the study of matter and energy so small that the physical laws that govern larger objects do not apply to them.)
Proving your identity at a bank or to a government official usually requires one of two things: either something you have, such as a license or a passport, or something you know, such as a password or code.
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The problem with codes is that they can be hacked, as evidenced by the data breaches at banks and retailers, such as Home Depot, Kohl's and Target. The problem with passports and IDs, and even many credit cards, is that they can be physically copied by forgers.