RFID , SMART CARDS AND RELATED TOPICS
Terminals Desktop, Handheld
Key Management System Symmetric as well as Asymmetric
Indian Barcode Corporation designs and develops both front-end and back-end software, integrating equipment(s) used in industries.
Major components are explained below :
A smart card is a plastic card with a microprocessor chip embedded in it. The card looks like a normal credit card except for its metal contact (in contact card only), but applications performed could be totally different. Other than normal credit card and bankcard functions, a smart card could act as an electronic wallet where electronic cash is kept. With the appropriate software, it could also be used as a secure access control token ranging from door access control to computer authentication.
In smart cards, the storage capacity of its memory content is much larger than that in magnetic stripe cards. The total storage capacity of a magnetic stripe card is 125 bytes while the typical storage capacity of a smart card ranges from 1K bytes to 64K bytes. In other words, the memory content of a large capacity smart card can hold the data content of more than 500 magnetic stripe cards.
Obviously, large storage capacity is one of the advantages in using smart card, but the single-most important feature of smart card consists of the fact that the stored data can be protected against unauthorized access and tampering. Inside a smart card, access to the memory content is controlled by a secure logic circuit within the chip. As access to data can only be performed via a serial interface supervised by the operating system and the secure logic system, confidential data written onto the card is prevented from unauthorized external access. This secret data can only be processed internally by the microprocessor.
Different types of Smart cards
Contact card - A more sophisticated version of smart card is the contact CPU card. A microprocessor is embedded in the card. With this real brain, program stored inside the chip can be executed. Inside the same chip, there are four other functional blocks: the mask-ROM, Non-volatile memory, RAM and I/O port
Contactless card - Even though contact CPU smart card is more secure than memory card, it may not be suitable for all kinds of applications, especially where massive transactions are involved, such as transportation. Because in public transport uses, personal data must be captured by the reader within a short period of time, contact smart card, which requires the user to insert the card to the reader before the data can be captured from the card, would not be a suitable choice. With the use of radio frequency, the Contactless smart card can transmit user data from a fairly long distance within a short activation period. The cardholder would not have to insert the card into the reader. The whole transaction process could be performed without removing the card from the user's wallet.
Contactless smart cards use a technology that enables card readers to provide power for transactions and communications without making physical contact with the cards. Electromagnetic signal is used for communication between the card and the reader. The power necessary to run the chip on the card could either be supplied by the battery embedded in the card or transmitted at microwave frequencies from the reader onto the card.
Hybrid Card - In the hybrid card, the contact IC chip and Contactless chip are separate modules. No electrical connections have been included for communications between the two chips. These two modules can be considered as separate but co-existing chips on the same card.
Dual Interface Card It combines advantages of both contact and Contactless cards. Single chip instead of two chips as in case of Hybrid Card, is used. Card provides both contact as well as Contactless interface. This is more suitable for multiple applications.
Memory Card A memory card is a card with only memory and access logic onboard. Similar to the magnetic stripe card, a memory card can only be used for data storage. No data processing capability should be expected. Without the on-board CPU, memory cards use a synchronous communication mechanism between the reader and the card where the communication channel is always under the direct control of the card reader. Data stored on the card can be retrieved with an appropriate command to the card.
In traditional memory cards, no security control logic is included. Therefore, unauthorized access to the memory content on the card could not be prevented. While in current memory cards, with the security control logic programmed on the card, access to the protection zone is restricted to users with the proper password only.
RFID(RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION DEVICES)
RFID is a system whereby data carried in suitable transponders, commonly known as RF tags, is retrieved at the appropriate time and place by means of an antenna and a transceiver, in order to satisfy a particular application need.
RFID Labels/Tags - These labels and Tags can be used in applications for identifying items from a distance of up to 10 meters without physical contact. RF tags are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They carry data, which may provide identification for an item in manufacture, goods in transit, the identity of an animal, person or vehicle as well as any item that requires tracking or identification. The shape of the tag may be as varied as a tube inserted into the stomach of a cow, such as the Impro Bolus tag, to a screw inserted into a wooden crate, a thin credit card for access control applications and a flat adhesive label for easy application to inventory items such as computers, printers and even company checks.
Biometrics is the measurement and matching of biological characteristics such as finger images, hand geometry, facial recognition, etc. Biometrics is a rapidly evolving technology, which has been widely used in forensics such as criminal identification and prison security. Recent advancements in biometric sensors and matching algorithms have led to the deployment of biometric authentication in a large number of civilian applications. Biometrics can be used to prevent unauthorized access to ATMs, cellular phones, smart cards, desktop PCs, workstations, and computer networks. It can be used during transactions conducted via telephone and Internet (electronic commerce and electronic banking). In automobiles, biometrics can replace keys with key-less entry and key-less ignition. Due to increased security threats, many countries have started using biometrics for border control and national ID cards.
Most of the smart cards today use proprietary OS for underlying communication and functions. But to give true support for the applications smart cards operating systems go beyond the simple functions supplied by ISO7816 standards. As a result porting application, developed on one module (Chip & OS), to another module becomes difficult.
Java Card OS allows the concept of post-issuance application loading. This allows upgrading applications on smart card after delivering the card to the end-user. The importance is, when someone needs a smart card he/she is in need of a specific application to run. But later the demand can change and more applications could be necessary.
Another operating system for smart cards is MULTOS (Multi-application Operating System). As the name suggests MULTOS also supports multi-applications. But MULTOS was specifically designed for high-security needs. And in many countries MULTOS has achieved "ITSec E6 High".
In a point of view the above Operating Systems are Card-Side API's to develop cardlets or small programs that run on the card. Also there is Reader-Side API's like OpenCard Framework and GlobalPlatform.
Indian Barcode corporation is the pioneer in the field of card and rfid solutions .