Are you aware of Smart Card’s use in Windows® 7?
A smart cardÂ is any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits which can carry data. This proves that it can receive input which is processedÂ by way of the ICC applications and delivered as an output.
There are generally two broad categories of ICCs. Memory cards contain only non volatile memory storage components, and perhaps some specific security logic. Microprocessor cards contain volatile memory and microprocessor components. The card is made of plastic, normally PVC, but sometimes ABS. The card may have embedÂ hologram to avoid counterfeiting. Using smart cards is also a form of strong security authentication for single sign-on within large firms and organizations.
Microsoft continues its support of smart cards in Windows 7. Smart cards,Â small plastic cards have a chip that can store details of a card holder’s identity, and that is coupled with a Personal Identification Number (PIN). It is more secure than a password as the intruder needs both the physical card and knowledge of the PIN to gain access.
Logging on to a Windows 7 computer with a smart card is very simple for the Windows user. The computer needs to have a smart card reader attached or installed. The user connects their smart card and press Ctrl, Alt, Delete to bring up a logon screen. They then select Switch User and click on the smart card icon.Â After that, they have toÂ enter their Personal Identification Number.
Smart cards can also be used to unlock an encrypted drive in Windows 7 using Microsoft’s BitLocker Drive Encryption. Bitlocker is available in Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise edition. Bitlocker is enhanced in Windows 7 to include Bitlocker To Go. Remember that the Bitlocker To Go Reader, which is used to unlock Windows XP or Vista drives, can’t be used with a smart card.
Smart cards for un-encrypting BitLocker drives need a compatible certificate on the card. BitLocker will choose the certificate unless there are multiple compatible certificates on the card, in which case the user chooses the certificate.
Smart card settings in BitLocker are controlled by Group Policy. Group Policy settings validate smart card certificate usage rule compliance on all drives including operating system drives, and configure the use of smart cards on fixed data and removable drives.
Advantages of Smart Card
- Smart cards can be used for personal identification, authentication, and data storage.
- Smart cards offers a means of effecting business transactions in a flexible, secure, standard way with minimal human intervention.
- Smart card offers strong authentication for single sign-on or enterprise single sign-on to computers, laptops, data with encryption, enterprise resource planning platforms such as SAP, etc
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