Cyber Security Expo
 
Smart Cards for Traveling Users by Sandra Price on 01/05/06

Offsite employees of an organization need to be able to connect to the office network as securely as possible when using the Internet to make a connection. Employees need to be able to connect to the office from more than one computer when they are on the go. These computers will most likely be in a public place vulnerable to on-lookers. A security method should be easy to use. When determining the appropriate amount of money to spend on the outside connection, security should not be compromised in order to spend less. Smart cards are portable, secure miniature computers used for the storage of identity information needed to establish a trustworthy connection with an organization’s Information Systems.

The first smart cards, invented in 1974 by Roland Moreno, only had memory. The integrated circuit microprocessor smart card was invented in 1979 by Michael Ugon. It is a plastic card that is the same size as a credit card with a gold contact pad located on one side of the card (Neve, Peeters, Samyde, & Quisquater, 2003). The gold contact pad covers the microprocessor that makes a smart card smart. The International Organization for Standardization in the standard ISO 7816 specifies the smart card dimensions (Steel, 2006). The smart card microprocessor can process, store and encrypt data using either RSA, an algorithm for public-key encryption, or MD5, a one-way hash function (Kay, 2003). The smart card contains flash memory that keeps the data stored in its memory even after loosing electrical power (White, 2006). Smart cards have many uses such as: financial cards, health cards, cards to pay for mass transportation and parking, ID badges, and network security. When trying to determine if a particular application will support smart cards, look for the Microsoft logo “Certified for Windows Server 2003.” This will tell you that the application meets the security standards set by Microsoft for Windows Server 2003 (Northup & Thomas, 2004). For organizations that need to provide connectivity to their servers and network to outside users, the smart card can solve security problems (Steel, 2006).

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