Card Printing Tips & Advice

Top Risks and Vulnerabilities of Photo ID Cards

risks & vulnerabilities of photo ID cards

With more and more companies adopting flexible, hybrid working patterns, photo ID cards have become more important than ever to verify the identity of those on-site.

As the UK’s leading ID card provider, we regularly issue printed ID cards to businesses in the education, public and private sector. Organisations use cards to monitor who is on the site at any time, making them excellent choices to keep their employees, visitors and company data safe.

However, some cards come with vulnerabilities that we think you should know about.

Based on emerging trends and increased demand, here are the top risks of photo ID cards that we found in 2021.


Risks of Photo ID Cards

1. A lack of visual security

Let’s start with the basics. If an ID card has a simple design and no visual security, it’s easy to duplicate. In other words, if you have no way of telling the difference between your cards and a cloned attempt, you may want to consider adding something like a visible UV watermark.

Many ID badge printers support this kind of technology. Some even allow you to print your organisation’s logo as a UV watermark. Adding a watermark is definitely worth considering if you’re operating an older ID card printer or will be producing more ID cards.

2. Outdated designs

When was the last time you changed your ID card design? If you’re struggling to answer that question, then it’s time for a refresh. We’re also seeing a growing trend for double-sided ID card printers, as organisations now look to print on both sides of the card post-pandemic. Utilising the space on the reverse of the card with updated policies or new procedures post-COVID informs the card wearer that steps have been taken to improve safety and strengthen security.

photo ID cards

Remember, designs that go unchanged are easily copied.

Unfortunately, we have seen many instances of well-known corporations operating the same card design for years at a time. However, we recommend changing the design of your cards at least once every two to three years, regardless of your organisation’s size.

3. Sharing images on social media

This might not seem like an obvious one, but we’ve seen several people from high-profile organisations sharing pictures of their ID cards on social platforms. Not only does this potentially reveal sensitive data, but it also gives malicious parties access to your ID card design.

In today’s digital society, the likelihood of this happening is higher than ever before.

Therefore, it’s important to include regulations about sharing images of ID cards and identity documents within your ID policy. This way, when staff are welcomed into the organisation, they know the rules around this and ensure personal data is protected.

4. Lack of spot checks

Do you carry out regular spot checks within your organisation? The purpose of an ID card is to allow you to identify anyone within your site immediately. There’s not much point in issuing ID if spot checks don’t occur, especially during entry and exit.

If you don’t have the resources to manage this 24/7, then our unclonable mobile access control solution could be just what you need.

5. Photos not being updated

Technology changes. Security features do, too. And so do people. You may be aware that you have to renew your driving licence every ten years. This ensures the photo remains up-to-date and makes you recognisable.

To a lesser extent, the same should apply to ID cards. If you have members of staff that have been with you a few years, it’s certainly worth thinking about.

For tips on taking a great ID photo, check out our guidance for the perfect photo ID card.

6. Cloning technology

Aside from the card design itself, if your ID cards function as access control cards with technology such as MIFARE and HID, it’s worth being aware of cloning tools that are readily available.

Older, lower frequency technology cards are particularly vulnerable and can be cloned using a cheap £30 tool off Amazon. If you’re still operating a legacy technology such as Prox, it’s worth thinking about upgrading your cards and access control system to protect yourself from card cloning attempts.

photo ID card cloning

7. Hand sanitiser

Hand sanitiser; it’s become one of the most common aspects of daily work life. While it’s great at killing germs, it’s not the best when it comes to maintaining ID cards.

The chemicals and alcohol in hand sanitiser and other cleaning products lead to accelerated degradation of ID cards. This can erase important information from the card and the ID photo itself. One way of avoiding this is to print cards using a retransfer ID card printer. These printers press a protective overlay into the card during printing, making it much less susceptible to wear and tear.

8. Card wearing accessories

There’s not much point in issuing ID cards if they aren’t visible at all times. As we mentioned earlier, you should be able to carry out a spot check at any time, and employees should visibly wear ID.

Supplying employees with a lanyard or card holder helps ensure that ID is visible at all times.

9. Exit policies

We’ve all been there. You have to let go of a disgruntled employee. There’s always the risk that they may attempt to sabotage anything they can before they go. Regardless of whether they have malicious intent, ensuring employees return their staff when they leave is imperative to protecting your company or brand.

It’s amazing how many companies don’t do this, but it’s well worth making it a part of your ID card policy. If you’re unsure where to start, speak to other departments to get this setup.

10. Blank cards

And now for a seemingly obvious one. If you don’t have an ID card design to start with, you might want to consider it. Lots of people make do with blank access control cards.

But this means that you might leave yourself open to criminals pretending to have an access control card that doesn’t work. Combining staff ID with your access control cards ensure this won’t happen.

11. Fading ID cards

Some cards fade quicker than others. Fading cards can potentially be harmful, especially if your ID photo begins to rub off. Luckily, we’ve compiled various ways to stop ID cards from fading.

Tip: It may be your ID card printer that’s causing cards to fade prematurely.

There are various security risks and vulnerabilities associated with photo ID cards. However, these risks are all avoidable.


Are your cards at risk?

If you’re concerned that your cards may be at risk of one or more of the above, don’t worry. We can help.

At Digital ID, we regularly work with private companies, educational establishments and public services. We’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest brands to ensure the highest level of physical security for their sites.

Is it time to join them?

Whether you’re looking for photo ID cards supporting modern technologies or prefer to opt for digital solutions, we have a suitable security upgrade for everyone.

Get in touch on 0800 988 2095 or e-mail sales@digitalid.co.uk with the subject line “ID Card Review”. A member of our expert team will be on hand to assist you.

Or find out more about creating secure ID cards and learn what should be displayed on a photo ID card.