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I am German and about to renew my ID card.

Since around 2010, the new ID cards contain an electronic chip that can be used for e.g. online authentication. If I understood the documentation correctly, it is some kind of NFC chip that just needs to be in close range of a card reader to be accessed. They say that any access is protected by requiring a 6 digit PIN and that only institutions and providers authorized by the state and given a specific digital certificate can request access to the data on it.

Now I looked at some more articles about the security aspects of these new ID cards, and the issues those addressed were mainly that if I put the card into a card reader connected to a computer, it might be possible to steal the entered PIN code, especially if one is using a card reader without built-in keyboard.

In my current situation, I don't have a need for the electronic features of this ID card, but that might change in the next few years. Currently I don't own any card reader and I don't plan to use the card electronically.

Are there any threats left if the electronic authentication feature of the ID card is left activated (as by default when receiving the new card) as long as I am not actively using it this way? What happens in case of theft? As it is some kind of NFC chip and doesn't need electric contact, can it be abused just by an attacker standing in range of me?

And finally, they say it is possible to deactivate the electronic features. All data still remains on the chip though. How does this change the security? Note that if I wanted to reactivate it later, they would charge a fee for that.

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