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Windows 7: What are Smart Cards?

31 Oct 2009   #1
Cluent

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
What are Smart Cards?

Microsoft says that Smart Cards can be used in conjunction with Encypting File System (EFS) to keep the encryption key off the computer.

What are smart cards, and is that the only it can be done? Why not a regular SD card or flash drive?


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31 Oct 2009   #2
hackerman1

W7-Enterprise + WS-2008 (Converted to Workstation)
 
 

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31 Oct 2009   #3
Cluent

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

I read a few articles, and I still don't get it. I thought I was pretty well versed with digital stuff...
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01 Nov 2009   #4
logicearth

Windows 10 Pro (x64)
 
 

Smart Card, are Cards that are Smart? Tho seriously, they are pretty much like your credit card they store a pin number either on a magnetic strip or a memory chip. Thats pretty much it...tho some do have a bit more advance capabilities...

Using smart cards is one form of authentication: something you have, something you know.
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01 Nov 2009   #5
Zen00

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Smart cards do act as a form of convenient identification. Mostly I've seen it with government personal, but they can be used in large businesses as well.

Another use for them is to provide single use logins for secure websites, such as PayPal.com. They can process data through their embedded chip and give you the login code or such for a very high security login, though a way around that has recently bee published.
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01 Nov 2009   #6
Cluent

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Thanks. Are they all credit card sized?

It seems smart cards are the only form of secure of authentication for EFS. Without one, it's very easy to break into the system.

I wonder why they don't allow the use of a regular SD card.
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01 Nov 2009   #7
Zen00

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

They are about credit card sized in general, though you can get them in all forms, shapes, sizes and such.
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02 Nov 2009   #8
H2SO4

Win7x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cluent View Post
Thanks. Are they all credit card sized?

It seems smart cards are the only form of secure of authentication for EFS. Without one, it's very easy to break into the system.

I wonder why they don't allow the use of a regular SD card.
It's not really about "smart cards" themselves. The point is to get the "private key" which can be used to unlock the EFS encryption off of the machine, because it's more secure that way.

Depending on what you're trying to accomplish, you might be better off looking at "bitlocker" functionality. It can store the key on a vanilla USB stick, as opposed to a "USB token" (which is a smart card + reader shaped like a single USB device).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2009   #9
Cluent

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by H2SO4 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Cluent View Post
Thanks. Are they all credit card sized?

It seems smart cards are the only form of secure of authentication for EFS. Without one, it's very easy to break into the system.

I wonder why they don't allow the use of a regular SD card.
It's not really about "smart cards" themselves. The point is to get the "private key" which can be used to unlock the EFS encryption off of the machine, because it's more secure that way.
Microsoft's documentation refers to smart cards. Is there another way to do it? Bitlocker is not an option because I have Win 7 Pro, which does not include bitlocker. When I bought Win 7 Pro, I did not even know that EFS was included and was planning on using a third-party product. But when I saw it there, I said why not give it a try.
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 What are Smart Cards?




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