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3 Ways Contactless Smart Cards Protect User Privacy

08/23/2018 17:08

image d'illustration

Contactless smart cards are, as the name implies, smart cards that transmit data wirelessly. They transfer data wirelessly to a device, rendering physical contact unnecessary. Swiping is a thing of the past and chances are, the leading credit card companies and banks will switch to smart cards.

As soon as a smart card comes into range of a card reader, its antenna catches a signal and a data transfer between the card and the card reader takes place. This is all done wirelessly.

Contactless smart cards operate on an ISO/IEC 14443 communication standard and are used widely throughout the world. In fact, there are more than 10 billion chips with 150 million card readers used commercially.

 

Their applications are varied, with German identity cards using the very same technology as biometric passports.

There are three major security reasons why these smart cards are preferred over their counterparts.

 

Enhanced Security

Contactless smart cards are extremely secure in how they communicate.

The communication and data transfer between the card and the card reader is conducted on a highly secure network through a security protocol that doesn’t allow the card to communicate with unknown devices or devices that do not meet the security standards. This communication is extremely difficult to intercept and, even if it is, the data is encrypted and would need to be cracked before being of use. You can argue that this is the same with traditional credit and debit cards and if you’re using a best credit card, it will be tough for hackers to intercept and misuse your data.

Here is how smart cards get better. They have multiple metal layers, circuits, sensors, and built-in codes that make it near to impossible to create duplicate cards. The chips used inside the cards have the ability to detect tampered card readers, making them extra secure.

 

Data is Stored on the Card

Data is stored directly to the smart card and not in any central database. When a card communicates with a card reader, its data is then transferred to the device. The lack of servers and databases (both of which are potentially vulnerable to hacks) make these smart cards a device capable of storing sensitive information. Without data servers, potential hackers would have to intercept a signal directly between a card and card reader and then decrypt that data, rather than simply breach a vulnerable server.

 

Authentication

The users have to authenticate other devices, users, and applications to connect and communicate. Only authorized devices and applications get access to the card’s chip. If a user doesn’t allow a device to access the information on the card, no data will be shared. It is just like authorizing a game to access your Facebook account - you can allow, deny and modify authentication anytime as you need.

 

Final words

Contactless smart cards are secure and safer than other types of cards, and the situation is only getting better. Since first appearing on the scene, we have seen several updates and upgrades to the technology, security protocols, and communication standards used by contactless smart cards, and we expect to see continued progression well into the future.

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