Smart Card Applications

Smart Card Applications

Go online and search for information about smart cards. There are several types of smart cards. Try to find information about each type of card and its applications. What type of card, in your view, is best suited for use as a secure-access tool?

In today’s world, there are high level of developments, with individuals and institutions relying much more on computing and its product developments. One such product in this field that has made significant development are smart cards, which are becoming common in everyday applications. Smart cards are at the core of our communication, finance management, and personal information management. Their value is in their ability to store critical information securely, while providing an authentication process that is not easy to breach (Mangard, Oswald, & Popp, 2007). The value of smart cards is almost undisputable; however, each smart card application has its best-suited application.

Smart cards come in various types depending on whether they are memory-based, code-based or file-based applications. They also vary in appearance and size. There are several elements that one needs to consider when dealing with smart cards, primarily, the functions of a smart card. Mayes and Markantonakis outlines them to be; it is automated; it adds security; is not duplicated easily; securely stores data and; can operate a variety of security-based functions (Mayes & Markantonakis, 2008). Contrary to popular belief, Magnetic Stripe cards can be forged, skimmed or counterfeited, while Chip Cards can be read simply using a card reader. As a result, they are not secure and thus cannot be defined as smart cards.

Smart card chips are very small and are thus limited in the amount information and types of functions they can carry out. However, they are smart cards as they qualify on all counts outlined above. They use smart chips in their operations, and their basic makeup consists of RAM, ROM and EEPROM. Various challenges face smart chip card production. The most notable of this arise since smartcards are priced according to size and can be quite costly to produce especially in bulk.  There is the risk of bending or breakage in transit if they are large, because they are often transported  using regular postage services and; In terms of power supply, the larger the chip, the more power it will require to produce them.

These challenges aside, the general cost of production is low, they are small in size and they have good RAM, ROM and EEPROM. In terms of security, SIM cards are not easy to tamper with by design. The chip is covered with a layer of silicon that prevents probing and frequently will carry a current. If this is destroyed, it renders the chip unusable. The circuitry is often scrambled, and the memory encrypted. Anyone attempting to hack a SIM card will have to spend a lot of time and costly resource; a SIM card thus will not be easily copied, duplicated, skimmed or counterfeited. Consequently, they have been favoured in communication and media, banking and finance, the transport and health service sectors, identity cards and passports.

Another added advantage is their versatile application, not just in industry such as special editions rolled out for the purposes of product or service promotions, but in the ability to personalise or customise such a card according to the purpose and function as well as portability. This is seen in the various programming modules that various applications use for the purposes of personalisation; this is seen for example in smart phones.

This makes SIM cards by far, the best option when considering secure-access tools because they are virtually impregnable. Finally, as the industry continues to develop, and more applications for the smart card are found, it will be interesting to see the different trends and new applications that they will be applied in. More importantly, it will be interesting to see how the RAM, ROM and EEPROM will be managed in relation to the physical size of the smart card

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