CUC 2004 / New Frontiers / New Techhnologies for New Needs
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Smart card – technology and application / A1
Silvio Svečnjak, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Croatia
| Full paper | Presentation |


Smart card is a plastic card, size of a credit card, with an integrated microchip which, as
opposed to magnetic stripe cards, has not only memory resources, but also has a functionality
of a microprocessor. Nowadays, the processing power of such built in microprocessor is at a
level which enables it to act as a small personal computer with a simple operating system,
which means that smart cards today can store and execute several independent applications at
the same time.

This not only enables smart cards to be more universal in their application, but also
enables implementation of additional security mechanisms. Adding that to existing smart card
security mechanisms coming from its self containment and its low price, it becomes obvious that
any system dealing with information of confidential nature which has to be widely but securely
available could make use of smart cards, be that for storing confidential information, for securing
access to such information or for authenticating the users of the system.

This document gives a description of such systems and applications which are based
on security characteristics and mechanisms provided by smart cards. It describes simple
applications such as ones used for user authentication in security sensitive environments or for
providing digital signature for electronic documents, where implementation is done locally
without the need for huge centralised control systems, but it also gives an example of more
complex applications such as intelligent tourist smart cards used for access control and
payment in tourist resorts. To emphasise the importance of back end infrastructure even more,
it gives an example of usage of smart cards on an even larger scale – a smart card system used
in health care systems where system integration and network infrastructure are key factors to
successful implementation.

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