US engineers have developed software that shows how personal identity verification (PIV) cards can be used with Windows and Linux systems to perform log-in, digital signing and verification.
The C++ applications created by Nist are designed to help developers create products that comply with the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 and the FIPS 201-1 standard.
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 calls for government employees and contractors to use secure identity credentials to access federal facilities and computers.
The typical process of keying in user name and password will be replaced with the user inserting a PIV card in a reader and entering a Pin.
This secure log-on could eliminate the need for passwords for other applications, and could provide access to secure databases to which the user is authorised.
"We wanted to provide IT professionals with a model of one way that PIV cards can be used to support authentication to federal information systems," said Donna Dodson, deputy director of the Nist Computer Security Division.
"Our objective was not to say 'do the steps this way,' but to show an example of how you might proceed."
Each card contains a unique number, two biometric fingerprint templates and cryptographic keys stored on an electronic chip embedded in the plastic body.
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