Introduction to Smart Cards

Introduction to Smart Cards - Introduction to Smart Cards...

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Introduction to Smart Cards Sumit Dhar dharvsnl@yahoo.com Information Security Management Team Reliance Infocomm
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Introduction to Smart Cards One card to rule them all, one card to find them, One card to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. --With due apologies to JRR Tolkien. Introduction Right now, inside your wallet, you probably have a couple of credit cards, an ID card, an ATM card and maybe a few other plastic cards. Without our realizing it, these plastic cards have become a very important part of our life. Consider a few scenarios where we use plastic cards these days: To identify ourselves. To obtain cash from the banks. As credit cards. Conventional Telephony. Access Control. Loyalty Programs. Most of these plastic cards are usually magnetic stripe cards. In spite of their tremendous popularity, magnetic stripe cards suffer from one crucial weakness. Data stored on them can be easily read and modified by someone with access to the right kind of equipment. As a result, confidential information like PIN Number or a password can not be stored on them and a transaction host (POS device/ATM) will have to go online to verify the PIN and this in most European and Asian countries is time consuming and costly. Enter Smart Cards . The development of smart cards along with rapid advances in cryptography has resulted in a solution to the above-mentioned problem. This article will introduce the reader to the various aspects of the Smart Card. History of Smart Cards Many people consider smart cards a recent invention. Nothing could be further from the truth. In 1968, German inventor Jurgen Dethloff along with Helmet Grotrupp filed a patent for using plastic as a carrier for microchips. In 1970, Japanese inventor, Kunitake Arimura, applied for a similar patent. Smart Cards were introduced in Japan in the same year. In 1974, Frenchman Roland Moreno registered his smart card patent in France. Given that the majority of smart card research initially went on in Europe, it is not surprising that Europeans are among the largest users of smart cards. Europe currently accounts for nearly 80% of the smart card market. France and Germany have been leading the world in terms of introducing various applications on smart cards. Smart cards are already being used the world over for a variety of purposes and in future they will become even more pervasive.
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Before we go into the details of Smart Cards, it might be a good idea to understand a little bit more about their predecessor, the Magnetic Stripe Card. Magnetic Stripe Card Turn your credit card around. Chances are you will see a black stripe, approximately half inch wide, running across it. This black stripe, consisting of three tracks of magnetic particles bonded to the card substrate, is the core of a magnetic stripe card. The magnetic stripe cards were introduced to: Store data in a machine-readable form. Minimize paper utilization in financial transactions.
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2011 for the course SECURITY 2354 taught by Professor Morganjones during the Spring '11 term at Ucla Venezuela.

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Introduction to Smart Cards - Introduction to Smart Cards...

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