Smartly regulated - Strong authentication for authorities via smart cards
Smart card terminals are usually called smart card readers or chip card readers in the desktop environment. The expression is somewhat misleading because the "reader" does not read anything itself. It only forwards the APDUs (Application Protocol Data Units) between the card and the host. It does not matter whether it is a read or write command, for example. Today, it is impossible to imagine access control to sensitive areas without smart cards.
CHERRY enters the race with its SmartTerminal with USB connection supports for protecting sensitive data in a straight-forward and reliable way. The terminal lives up to its name and is undoubtedly smart: it is stable and can be operated with one hand thanks to its weight, making it extremely easy to use. It reads and writes chip cards with extremely low power consumption. Whether access controls, network logon, or chip card-based internet transactions - the SmartTerminal ST-1144 makes a valuable contribution to protecting sensitive data. The reader is a real all-rounder - considering compatibility is very important: it starts with the chip card types. The SmartTerminal ST-1144 reads and writes all ISO 7816 cards and is compatible with USB 2.0, the software interfaces CCID, PC / SC, CAC, and the OmniKey 3121 (Aviator).
Entering the world of zeros and ones
It has always been of immense importance to people to have control over who they have access to, and who they do not. Long ago, defensive measures such as a moat and a drawbridge provided protection against unwarranted outside attacks. Solid city walls, along with gates locked in the evenings, allowed for feelings of safety and security. However, in today's digital age, things are much different.
In addition to controlling the purely physical access to buildings or sensitive areas within them, there is also access control into the digital world of zeros and ones. An intelligent method of authenticating those who want to enter - be it in a building or a computer - along with many other options such as passwords, number codes or biometric authentication methods - is the smart card.
“Bouncers” for sensitive areas
Authorities in the broadest sense and government institutions, in particular, are undoubtedly the most sensitive buildings and institutions that regulate very precisely who has access to which areas. In the Department of Defense (DoD), for example, the Common Access Card (CAC) controls the standard authentication for the personnel of the uniformed service in active duty, the selected reserve, the civilian employees of the Ministry of Defense and the authorized external personnel. It is also the main card for physical access to buildings and controlled spaces and provides access to the United States Department of Defense's computer network and systems.
The hardware side of authentication
Of course, all this only works if there is a device that can read the cards. In the case of the smart card, this is a terminal. In addition to terminals with an electrical feed, which are used in ATMs, for example, most devices have to be manually inserted. Hence why a mechanism (switch) is required, that recognizes the insertion. The drawing of a card must also be recognized immediately, and the switch-off sequence carried out so that no live contact can damage the smart card.
The SmartTerminal ST-1144 supports the following chip card protocols: T = 0, T = 1, S = 8, S = 9 and S = 10. In addition to the common Windows operating systems, there are also drivers for Linux and macOS for the smart card Reader. The Department of Defense has also been relying on CHERRY's smart card terminals for a long time, having already used the ST-1144 predecessor models, namely the ST-1000 and the ST-1044.
Another feature of the smart card reader that should not go unnoticed, especially for authorities and government organizations with strict budget requirements: Tests have shown that the CHERRY ST-1144 SmartTerminal is designed for around 100,000 mating cycles. In other words: this product is durable and robust. This key advantage should not be underestimated, especially for areas of application with a high number of personnel, such as for authorities.