Following the news that hackers have published a scan of Michelle Obama’s passport online, Leo Taddeo, former FBI Special Agent and Chief Security Officer for Cryptzone commented below, why this hack might not pose any immediate security risk for Michelle Obama and the risks of keeping this type of information online.

Leo Taddeo, Former FBI Special Agent and Chief Security Officer at Cryptzone:

LeoTaddeo“The compromise of a screenshot of the First Lady’s passport is not as bad as it sounds.  First, Michelle Obama is one of the most recognizable women in the world, so it’s hard to imagine someone using her passport to impersonate her for any reason. Second, the information in the passport is probably already well known, such as her date of birth.  Lastly, the passport is likely an e-Passport, which contains an electronic chip that is almost impossible to duplicate.  As such, a fraudster can’t just cut and paste a high resolution copy of the image onto another passport.  With all the security features built in and around the First Lady, the passport compromise doesn’t present a significant risk.

“However, for an ordinary person, this type of information leakage raises the chances of falling victim to identity theft.  The information on the face of the document is sensitive and could be used to open credit lines or apply for other forms of identification.  Maintaining this type of information in emails is risky, and should be avoided.  The most effective countermeasure is to use encryption to store and transmit sensitive emails whenever possible.”