In this blog, we will understand the topic Smartcard List but before that we will learn something regarding Smartcard.
What is a Smartcard?
A smart card is a physical card that has an embedded integrated chip that acts as a security token. Smart cards are typically the same size as a driver’s license or credit card and can be made out of metal or plastic. They connect to a reader either by direct physical contact — also known as chip and dip — or through a short-range wireless connectivity standard such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near-field communication.
The chip on a smart card can be either a microcontroller or an embedded memory chip. Smart cards are designed to be tamper-resistant and use encryption to provide protection for in-memory information. Cards with microcontroller chips can perform on-card processing functions and manipulate information in the chip’s memory.
Smart cards are used for a variety of applications but are most commonly used as credit cards and other payment cards. The payment card industry’s support of smart cards for the Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) card standard has driven the distribution of smart cards. Smart cards capable of short-range wireless connectivity can be used for contactless payment systems. They can also be used as tokens for multifactor authentication (MFA).
International standards and specifications cover smart card technology. Some of those standards and specs are industry-specific applications. In the United States, smart card technology conforms to international standards — International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission 7816 and ISO/IEC 14443 — backed by the Secure Technology Alliance.
The first mass use of smart cards was Télécarte, a telephone card for payment in French pay phones, launched in 1983. Smart cards are now ubiquitous and have largely replaced magnetic stripe — also known as mag stripe — card technology, which only has a capacity of 300 bytes of nonrewriteable memory and no processing capability.
Now Let’s look how it works!!
How smart cards work
Smart card microprocessors or memory chips exchange data with card readers and other systems over a serial interface. The smart card itself is powered by an external source, usually the smart card reader.
Smart cards communicate with readers via direct physical contact or using RFID or another short-range wireless connectivity standard. The chip or processor on the card contains data that the card reader accesses. The processor on the card contains a basic operating system (OS) that lets the card hold, transmit and protect the data.
The card reader passes data from the smart card to its intended destination, usually a payment or authentication system, over a network connection.
Uses of smart cards
Smart cards are generally used in applications that must deliver fast, secure transactions. They can protect personal information in numerous situations, including the following:
- credit cards;
- other types of payment cards;
- corporate and government identification cards;
- transit fare payment cards; and
- e-documents, such as electronic passports and visas.
Smart cards, such as debit cards, are often used with a personal identification number (PIN). Organizations also use them for security purposes, as MFA tokens and for authenticating single sign-on (SSO) users and enabling passwordless authentication.
Types of smart cards
Smart cards are categorized based on criteria such as how the card reads and writes data, the type of chip used and its capabilities. They include the following types:
Contact smart cards are the most common type of smart card. They are inserted into a smart card reader that has a direct connection to a conductive contact plate on the surface of the card. Commands, data and card status are transmitted over these physical contact points.
Contactless cards require only close proximity to a card reader to be read; no direct contact is necessary. The card and the reader are both equipped with antennae and communicate using radio frequencies over a contactless link. The antennae are often a copper wire that wraps around the edge of the card.
Dual-interface cards are equipped with both contactless and contact interfaces. This type of card enables secure access to the smart card’s chip with either the contactless or contact smart card interfaces.
Hybrid smart cards contain more than one smart card technology. For example, a hybrid smart card might have an embedded processor chip that is accessed through a contact reader and an RFID chip for proximity connection. The different chips may be used for different applications linked to a single smart card — for example, when a proximity chip is used for physical access control to restricted areas and a contact chip is used for SSO authentication.
Memory smart cards only contain memory chips and can only store, read and write data to the chip. The data on these cards can be overwritten or modified, but the card itself is not programmable. So, data can’t be processed or modified programmatically. These cards can be read-only and used to store data such as a PIN, password or public key. They can also be read-write and used to write or update user data. Memory smart cards can be configured to be rechargeable or disposable, in which case the data they contain can only be used once or for a limited time before being updated or discarded.
Microprocessor smart cards have a microprocessor embedded onto the chip, in addition to memory blocks. A microprocessor card may also incorporate specific sections of files where each file is associated with a specific function. The data in the files and the memory allocation are managed with a smart card OS. This type of card can be used for more than one function and usually enables adding, deleting and otherwise manipulating data in memory.
Smart cards can also be categorized by their application, such as credit card, debit card, entitlement or other payment card, authentication token and so on.
Advantages of smart cards
Smart cards offer several advantages, such as these:
Stronger security. Smart cards provide a higher level of security than magnetic stripe cards because they contain microprocessors capable of processing data directly without remote connections. Even memory-only smart cards can be more secure because they can store more authentication and account data than traditional mag stripe cards. Smart cards are generally safe against electronic interference and magnetic fields, unlike magnetic stripe cards.
Information persistence. Once information is stored on a smart card, it can’t be easily deleted, erased or altered. That is why smart cards are good for storing valuable data that should not be reproduced. However, applications and data on a card can be updated through secure channels, so issuers do not have to issue new cards when an update is needed.
Multiple uses. Multiservice smart card systems let users access more than one service with one smart card.
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