Evolving security solutions with technological advancement
by Ronnie Teo, email@example.com. Posted on July 29, 2012, Sunday
Datasonic improving the security of MyKad, Malaysian passports with enhanced technology solutions
KUCHING: The frequent use of the MyKad by Malaysian citizens warranted the need for heightened security, especially when breakthroughs in technology also inadvertently encouraged the growth of white collar crimes such as forgery or identity theft.
This led to the government’s call to introduce new and enhanced MyKads early this year.
Since January, Malaysians hav been applying for the replacement card and momentum has picked up to an average of 21,000 applications daily compared with the National Registration Department’s (NRD) capacity of 8,000 cards a day.
As such, the company assisting the government in this aspect, Datasonic Group Bhd (Datasonic) is spurring its efforts to increase the productivity of MyKads in addition to making it more secure.
“The advancement in technology has made it easier for criminals to retrieve personal details and use them for unethical purposes,” revealed the group’s independent non-executive chairman, General Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Hashim Mohd Ali in an email to BizHive Weekly.
“The government then recognised the need to change the MyKad to more updated ones with better security features.
“With the supply of our new raw MyKads with 100 per cent polycarbonate material and new security features such as laser engraving, the new ‘ghost’ image, new operating system and chips commencing this year, will not only increase the reading speed of MyKad for higher efficiency but also strictly prevent our national ID document from forgery and fraudulent use,” he said.
“Besides, with our supply of high-speed and high-performance smart cards issuance systems at NRD headquarter in Putrajaya and all other 14 NRD branches nationwide – including Sabah and Sarawak – the government is able to issue MyKads across all the states instantly via all these decentralised locations to improve its public delivery services.”
The government’s MyKad is the first of its kind in the world, incorporating a host of government and private sector applications in a single card. It is an initiative of the Malaysian government in providing the public with added convenience and ease when conducting transactions with the government and private companies.
The new MyKad introduced since January this year is an upgrade of the existing one in terms of design and securities features as it incorporates the latest technology with durable polycarbonates material to ensure a better adhesion between the printed layer and the overlay of the card.
Another security concern highlighted by the government was the Malaysian national passport, to which Datasonic was recently awarded the five-year contract to supply ten million new passport polycarbonate datapages and laser engraving personalisation equipment to the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
The duration of this contract was from Feb 1, 2013 to Jan 31, 2018, highlighted Hashim.
“This means that commencing from Feb 1, 2013, all Malaysian passports’ front identification pages (ID photo page) will be replaced from paper to polycarbonate,” he explained. “More than two million passports will be issued over the next five years from the 56 domestic and five overseas centres where the passports are issued.”
The change from paper to polycarbonate, he outlined, would add more security features on the identification page to make it difficult for the Malaysia passport to be forged.
It was reported that the Malaysian passport had become a much sought-after document in the international black market as it could fetch anything between RM40,000 and RM50,000 per piece.
Changing the ID pages would be seen as a drastic preventive measure to stop the abuse of the document by unscrupulous people, he noted.
“In this project, we are working closely with the government to identify and design the new securities features of the polycarbonate datapage with laser engraving technology,” he further elaborated.
“We also supply our centralised and decentralised laser printing equipment, hardware and software system to enable the ‘laser printing’ and issuance of the new passport datapage to all major immigration offices across the states.”
These two projects were among several undertaken by Datasonic in Malaysia, thus affirming its status as the leading total solutions provider for the customisation of software and hardware solutions, personalisation of smart cards as well as research and development and technical consultancy services.
Additionally, Datasonic also provided outsource personalisation services to more than 10 major foreign and local banks in Malaysia since 2003, being one of the main outsourcing centres to assist financial banks in Malaysia to undergo the national rollout of the EMV migration in the country replacing all the prevalent magnetic stripes cards in Malaysia.
This move hoped to curb forgeries and to reduce fraud cases of credit cards, noted Hashim.
“Over the years, we have worked closely with multiples overseas card manufacturers and chip suppliers to perform personalisation of automatic teller machines (ATM) as well as debit and credit cards across different types of open platforms and sole proprietary platforms,” he revealed.
“We integrate our personalisation system into the cards and send to certification bodies for card certification prior to issuance of the cards to the market to ensure the cards meet the international security standard.
“Our regional personalisation centre was also certified by Visa International, MasterCard International, Malaysian Electronic Payment System (MEPS) as well as Proton World International to ensure compliance to all international standards for the production of ATM, debit and credit cards.
“To date, we have assisted several major banks in Malaysia to produce more than 10 million of ATM, debit and credit cards in the markets.”
This led to Datasonic’s strong order book to date, which Hashim was confident would provide immediate opportunities for recurring income for the group.
However, there was a challenge to complete the orders in time.
“As part of our expansion plan, we plan to set up a smart card manufacturing plant to accommodate the large volume of smart cards (new raw MyKads for the NRD) as required by the orders,” he concluded.