Smart Cards

Topics: Smart card, Access control, Biometrics Pages: 33 (10712 words) Published: November 28, 2012

Smart card is one of the greatest achievements in the world of information technology. Similar in size to today's plastic payment card, the smart card has a microprocessor or memory chip embedded in it that, when coupled with a reader, has the processing power to serve many different applications. As an access-control device, smart cards can be used to access server remotely over the Internet and they can make personal and business data available only to the appropriate users. Smart cards provide data portability, security, convenience and the like. According to Gemplus (ref. [19]), smart cards can be categorized into the following .Memory and microprocessor- Memory cards simply store data and can be viewed as a small floppy disk with optional security. A microprocessor card, on the other hand, can add, delete and manipulate information in its memory on the card.

Contact and contactless - Contact smart cards are inserted into a smart card reader, making physical contact with the reader. However, contactless smart cards have an antenna embedded inside the card that enables communication with the reader without physical contact. A combi card combines the two features with a very high level of security.

Smart cards help businesses evolve and expand their products and services in a changing global marketplace. The scope of uses for a smart card has expanded each year to include applications in a variety of markets and disciplines. In recent years, the information age has introduced an array of security and privacy issues that have called for advanced smart card security applications.

"Key to the global village", that is how the Smart Card has been described. Smart Cards will bring big changes to the way people provide and receive information and the way they spend money. They will have a profound impact on retailing and service delivery.

A Smart Card is like an "electronic wallet". It is a standard credit card-sized plastic intelligent token within which a microchip has been embedded within its body and which makes it 'smart'. It provides not only memory capacity, but computational capability as well and thus the chip is capable of processing data. It has gold contacts that allow other devices to communicate with it. This chip holds a variety of information, from stored (monetary) value used for retail and vending machines to secure information and applications for higher-end operations such as medical/healthcare records. New information and applications can be added depending on the chip capabilities. Smart Cards can store several hundred times more data than a conventional

Card with a magnetic stripe and can be programmed to reveal only the relevant information. For Example, it could tell a device in a store that there is sufficient balance in an account to pay for a transaction without revealing the balance amount. The marriage between a convenient plastic card and a microprocessor allows information to be stored, accessed and processed either online or offline. Therefore, unlike the read-only plastic card, the processing power of Smart Cards gives them the versatility needed to make payments, to configure your cell phones, TVs and video players and to connect to your computers via telephone, satellite or the Internet anytime, anywhere in the world.


Smart card was invented at the end of the seventies by Michel Ugon (Guillou, 1992). The French group of bankcards CB (Carte Bancaire) was created in 1985 and has allowed the diffusion of 24 million devices (Fancher, 1997). For the physical characteristics the first draft proposal was registered in 1983. A long discussion resulted in the standardization of the contact location. Next was the standardization of signals and protocols which resulted in standards ISO/IEC 7816/1-4. Logical security came next, as it was clear from the beginning that there was a need for...
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