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Using Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Credentials in Physical Access Control Systems (PACS)



Shirley M. Radack


This bulletin summarizes information disseminated in NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-116, A Recommendation for the Use of PIV Credentials in Physical Access Control Systems (PACS), written by William MacGregor of NIST, Ketan Mehta of Mehta, Inc., and David Cooper and Karen Scarfone of NIST. The publication describes a strategy that agencies can apply in using PIV Cards for access to Federal buildings, and in moving toward the goal of government-wide interoperability of PIV credentials. The bulletin summarizes the information in the guide to help organizations adopt a risk-based approach for selecting appropriate PIV authentication mechanisms to manage physical access to Federal government facilities and assets. Topics covered include the known technical threats to PIV authentication mechanisms, implementation of FIPS 201, available authentication mechanisms and their application in PACS environments, and the selection of an appropriate level of security for each application. The bulletin includes NIST s recommendations for preparing a migration plan to enable the use of PIV credentials in PACS.
ITL Bulletin -


Authentication methodology, access to Federal facilities, biometrics, cryptography, Federal Information Processing Standard 201, Homeland Security Presidential Directive, HSPD, information technology, PACS, Personal Identification Verification, PIV, PIV Cards, physical access control systems, risk management, security controls, threats to systems


Radack, S. (2009), Using Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Credentials in Physical Access Control Systems (PACS), ITL Bulletin, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 21, 2024)


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Created February 26, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017