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Smart Cards

What is Smart Card?

The smart card is defined as a "credit card" with a "brain" on it, the brain being a small embedded computer chip. Because of this "embedded brain", smart card is also known as chip or integrated circuit (IC) card. Some types of smart card may have a microprocessor embedded, while others may only have a non-volatile memory content included. In general, a plastic card with a chip embedded inside can be considered as a smart card.

Advantages of Smart Card

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 their 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

According to the definitions of "smart card" in the Smart card technology, the word smart card has three different meanings:

.    IC card with ISO 7816 interface

.    Processor IC card

.    Personal identity token containing ICs

Basically, based on their physical characteristics, IC cards can be categorized into 4 main types:

Memory Card

Contact CPU/ Micro-processor Card

Contactless Card 

Combi Card

 

Different Applications of Smart Cards

With the rapid expansion of Technology and Electronic commerce, smart cards are now more widely accepted in the commercial market as stored-value and secure storage cards. Smart Cards have also been used as an identity card. This identity card can be used for normal access control as well as electronic payment.

The smart card has also been used in transportation to replace of the old Magnetic stripe card. Medical record can also be stored in the smart card. This enables critical information of the patient to be retrieved whenever it is required. With the help of smart card technology, many secure data such as the computer login name and password can also be kept, so user need not remember a large number of passwords.

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