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Smart Cards

Smart cards have computing power, large storage capacity, can exchange information with a card reader, can add or extract data and cannot be easily copied.

A smart card contains an embedded computer chip that has secure storage capacity from either a microprocessor with internal memory or a memory chip alone. Smart cards can be used in controlling access by identifying and authenticating the user. The card connects to a reader with direct physical contact or with a remote contactless electromagnetic interface.

Smart cards can store information related to identity and privileges. The data can be in the form of a PIN, a digital signature or a biometric template such as is generated from a fingerprint.

Memory cards are only able to store information and allow simple editing of stored data. They are often used for phone cards, transit cards or toll collection cards.

Cards with microprocessors store information and have computational ability such as calculating cash point increases and decreases.

The types of smart cards available include:

  • Contact Cards - have a gold chip embedded in them. Cards must be inserted into a smart card reader. They are more secure and store more information than contactless cards, but may have a shorter usage life due to wear and tear.
  • Contactless Cards - have an internal antenna coil and an embedded chip and must pass within range of a smart card reader. Contactless cards read faster than contact cards.
  • Hybrid/Twin Cards - have two chips embedded - one contactless and one contact. The contactless chip is used for fast transactions such as mass transit. The contact chip allows for higher security. These two chips are not connected.
  • Combi Cards (Dual Interface) - employs one chip that is both contact and contactless and can be accessed both through contact pads and embedded antennas. This type of card provides high security and ease of use.

If biometrics are combined with smart cards, the result is a convergence of applications on a single credential. Both the card and the user are positively linked and identified.

The Uses of Biometrics

ID systems incorporating biometrics provide the highest possible level of secure authentication. The sales specialists at IDentiphoto can customize a solution for you.

Biometrics utilize something about you to validate identification, such as fingerprint, retinal or iris patterns, voiceprints, hand geometry, face scan or signature dynamics. Biometrics can be used with a smart card to authenticate a user. The information is stored on the card in a smart chip or two-dimensional bar code. The verification process may be done by the smart card or by a biometric-specific reader. A central database of biometric information can also be used with an online screening device.

Biometric readers can be stand-alone or networked and are capable of integrating into access control and time and attendance systems.

Three authentication methods are currently used for security:

  • Something you have - such as a card key or token
  • Something you know - such as a PIN or password
  • Something unique about you (a biometric)

A biometric system will allow for both physical and logical access (for access to information or data).

Issues of privacy are being addressed for the private sector so that biometric data cannot be sold or transferred without the individuals' consent, unless used for law enforcement investigative procedures. In the public sector, collection is to be done in accordance with the law.

RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification)

This technology communicates via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to or embedded in an object. It is used for identification and tracking. Some tags can be read from several meters away, even outside the line of sight of the reader.

RFID is a wireless automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technology that includes tags, antenna or coil electronics programmed with unique information, reader and software. RFID tags can be either active or passive and are used mainly for supply chain management, due to the greater read range.

Bar Codes

A Bar Code is an array of machine-readable rectangular bars and spaces arranged in a specific way to represent letters, numbers and other human-readable symbols.

A bar code can store personal information and can be printed on plastic cards or applied as labels. You can print information that is not in a legible format.

Linear bar codes store simple alphanumeric data. Two-dimensional bar codes store more data in a small amount of space. Data is translated into a bar code and embedded on the card at the time of printing. The card may then be scanned to access this data.

Red or black bar code masks can be applied to add security. You can even add a digital signature to a card for comparison with a handwritten signature for additional security.

Bar codes are easy to use, cost effective and very accurate. Let IDentiphoto show you how!

Magnetic Stripes

A magnetic stripe is a ferric-oxide coated strip resembling magnetic recording tape. The stripe stores information in magnetic codes readable by such devices as access control systems and automated bank tellers. The stripe may contain multiple information tracks. One or more tracks may be used by the card-issuing agency in the following formats:

  • Track One - International Air Transport Association
  • Track Two - ABA - American Banking Association
  • Track Three - Thrift Institution or National Association of Mutual Savings Banks (NAMSB) formats

Stripes are available in standard (Lo-Co) or high coercivity (Hi-Co), depending on the encoding and rating system used by the card issuing agency. Coercivity refers to the power of the magnetic field required to encode the card.

Magnetic stripes are used on different types of cards including ID badges. You can print and encode your own custom cards and store customer data and card value on the magnetic stripe. Magnetic stripes can be utilized along with other technologies on an ID badge.

IDentiphoto provides these cards and will help you to implement a system that incorporates them.

Proximity Cards

Prox cards are often used in access control and tracking applications. The internal metallic antenna embedded in a prox card is less vulnerable to decoding than a magnetic stripe when encountering a strong magnetic field. Signals from prox cards are not easily intercepted.

This contactless technology communicates with an external antenna. Because they only have to be in close "proximity" to the RF (radio frequency) antenna, they are also referred to as contactless cards.

Prox cards have a long card life because they have no physical contact with a reader. These cards are highly secure and some proximity technologies can also be combined with others, such as bar code or magnetic stripe.

IDentiphoto can provide these excellent and secure cards, including a Value Line that is compatible with most door access systems.

Wiegand Cards

The technology for these cards is manufactured by Sensor Engineering Company. Special magnetic wires are embedded at the factory into an ID badge in a code strip.

Wire location on the code strip determines whether the signal called for by a magnetic field will be read as a one or a zero.

These cards are virtually impossible to duplicate for counterfeit purposes and are readable by units that are weatherproof.

Want to know more? IDentiphoto offers these cards, as well as other technology cards.

See Also:

Technology Cards


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