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Smart Card Technology: New Methods for Computer Access Control



Martha E. Haykin, Robert B. Warnar


A smart card is a credit-card-sized device containing one or more integrated circuit chips, which perform the functions of a microprocessor, memory, and an input/output interface. Smart cards, and other related devices, may be used to provide an increased level of security in applications requiring controlled access to sensitive information. This publication describes the basic components of a smart card, and the goals and obstacles of smart card application development. Possible roles for smart cards in modern computer security systems and research conducted at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in the area of smart card access control systems are discussed. A forecast is made for the characteristics and applications of future smart cards and related devices. An overview of current standards activities for smart cards is given in an appendix.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 500-157
Report Number


access control, authentication, biometrics, computer security, cryptography, Data Encryption Standard (DES), electrically erasable programmable read only memory (EEPROM), erasable programmable read only memory (EPROM), integrated circuit card, microcomputer, reader/writer device, smart card, token


Haykin, M. and Warnar, R. (1988), Smart Card Technology: New Methods for Computer Access Control, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 25, 2024)


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Created September 1, 1988, Updated November 10, 2018