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sc/interface

Icon-scinterfacesc/interface is smart card middleware that integrates smart cards and other smart tokens into IT environments. sc/interface supports more than 90 different smart card profiles across all major operating systems. Fingerprint recognition is available as an option.

 

In a nutshell

The rising demand for electronic identity verification requires much more than simple user names and passwords. Two-factor authentication – especially based on a smart card (or another smart token) and a PIN – is therefore a must. As a very mature solution, smart cards have been widely deployed for years on bank cards and more recently on electronic ID cards.

With many different smart card options, the hardware typically is not an issue. In fact, successful projects depend much more on the smart card middleware used. Smart card middleware is software connecting a smart token to applications. In the current heterogeneous IT world, smart card middleware should not depend on specific operating systems or devices. Instead, it should be platform independent and support a broad number of applications across differing devices. In addition, strong security demands smart card middleware that utilizes standards based protocols and advanced cryptographic methods.

sc/interface is powerful smart card middleware which connects applications (Outlook, Edge, Safari, Firefox, etc.) to the desired smart card or token. It supports all relevant cryptographic interfaces for every major operating system: Microsoft CSP and Minidriver (for Windows), Tokend (for macOS), and PKCS#11 (for
Linux derivatives, Windows, and macOS). With hard­ware support for over 90 card types and profiles (including Microsoft Virtual Smart Card), sc/interface removes dependence on any single card vendor and provides unrivaled interoperability.

Supporting RSA and Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), sc/interface meets the most demanding encryption standards recommended by security agencies worldwide. ECC support is especially important, as the security of some cards using RSA has recently been questioned. Other features, like platform independence, modular architecture, implementation of all major security standards (including PACE), support of Microsoft Virtual Smart Card, IBM Tivoli certification and optional full biometry support, make sc/interface one of the most innovative solutions of its kind on the worldwide market.

 

Frequently asked questions

What Is A Smart Card Middleware?

Operating system login, VPN access, secure web portal access, and similar use cases need appropriate protection. Many enterprises still use passwords for this purpose, which is neither secure nor convenient. As a replacement for passwords, more and more enterprises currently deploy two-factor authentication based on smart cards (or smart tokens) and PINs (or biometric credentials). A smart card stores a secret key that replaces the password and can additionally be used for encryption and digital signatures. In order to use a smart card on a PC, smart card middleware is necessary. Smart card middleware is a software component that connects a smart card (or a smart token) with one or several applications. The core of it is a driver offering a high-level crypto interface to applications and communicates with the smart card via a (proprietary) low-level interface. In addition, many smart card middlewares comprise a management tool for formatting, personalization and similar tasks. As many users use the same card on different devices (e.g. computer and smart phone), several operating systems need to be supported. In addition, there are dozens of smart card types with proprietary card interfaces and different crypto interfaces.

Which Crypto Interfaces are supported?

The most common crypto interface is PKCS#11. It is supported, among others, by Firefox, IBM Notes, Adobe Reader and many Linux applications. Microsoft has created their own crypto-interfaces. Originally, the Microsoft Cryptographic API (MS CAPI) was released for Windows 2000 and XP clients. With Windows Vista, a new interface named Cryptography API Next Generation (CNG) was introduced. CNG includes the concept of Smart Card Minidriver. A Minidriver is a module which allows organizations to easily deploy smart cards by automatically downloading necessary connectors from Microsoft. Finally, there is the crypto interface Tokend for MacOS. sc/interface supports PKCS#11, Tokend, as well as both MS-CAPI and CNG (it provides a Smart Card Minidriver).

What applications can I realize with sc/interface?

Among other things, sc/interface supports the following applications:

  • disk encryption
  • eID
  • WWW login
  • system login
  • VPN login
  • secure WiFi
  • SSO
  • secure e-mail
  • document encryption and signature

What Cards are Supported?

  • ATOS CardOS: M4.01A / V4.2 / V4.2B / V4.2C / V4.3 / V4.3B / V4.4 / V5.0 / V5.3
  • AustriaCard JCOP: 21 V2.2 / 21 V2.3.1 / 31 V2.2 / 31 V2.2 contactless / 31 V2.3.1 / 31 V2.3.1 contactless / 31/72 V2.3.1 / 31 / 72 V2.3.1 contactless / 41 V2.2.1 / 41 V2.2.1 contactless / 41 V2.3.1 / 41 V2.3.1 contactless / 41 V2.4 / 41 V2.4 contactless
  • Bundesdruckerei: GoID card V1, V2
  • ePasslet-Suite 1.1/1.2: on JCOP V2.4.1R3, on JCOP V2.4.1R3 with PACE Profile
  • ePasslet-Suite 2.0: on JCOP V2.4.2R3, on JCOP V2.4.2R3 with PACE Profile
  • Gemalto: TOP IM GX4
  • G&D Sm@rtCafé: Expert: 3.1 / 3.1 contactless / 3.2 / 4.0 / 5.0 / 6.0 / 6.0 SCP 03 / 7
  • G&D STARCOS: 3.0 / 3.2 / 3.4 (Swiss Health Card eGK) / 3.5 
  • HID Crescendo: C700 / C700 contactless
  • Infineon: JCLX80 jTOP / JCLX80 jTOP contactless
  • NXP JCOP: V 2.1 / V2.2 / V2.2 Contactless / V2.2 / V2.3.1 / V2.4 / V2.4.1 / V2.4.2 / V2.4.2 R3 / V2.4.2 R3 SCP 03
  • SwissSign: suisseID (CardOS M4.3B / M4.4)
  • D-Trust: D-Trust Card 3.0, 3.1, 3.2
  • TCOS: Signature Card 2.0
  • Microsoft Virtual Smart Card

What Tokens are Supported?

Among others, sc/interface supports the following tokens:

  • Certgate microSD (NXP JCOP)
  • G&D Sm@rtCafé Expert 3.2 USB token
  • NXP JCOP: V2.2.1 IDptoken 200
  • SwissSign SwissID (CardOS M4.3B)
  • Swissbit
  • IDENTIV @MAXX (SCT3512)

Does sc/interface support Virtual Smart Card (VSC)?

Virtual Smart Card (VSC) is a technology introduced by Microsoft that enables the use of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for key storage via a smart-card-type interface. sc/interface supports this technology. This means that with sc/interface not only cards and tokens can be used for storing keys, but also a TPM.

Who uses sc/interface?

sc/interface is used (among others) by the following customers:

  • Government of Nigeria: Nigerian identity authority NIMC issues electronic identity cards to the 160 million inhabitants of the country. sc/interface is used to connect this card to its applications.
  • SwissSign: SwissSign, a leading provider of innovative identity solutions and subsidiary of Swiss Post uses cryptovision’s smart card middleware sc/interface for their product SuisseID.
  • Husky Energy: The Canadian energy supplier Husky Energy uses
    sc/interface for securing laptops.
  • Minimax: The German fire protection supplier Minimax uses
    sc/interface for smart card authentication.

The Technical Part

Supported Systems

Microsoft:

  • Windows 7 SP1, 8.1, 10
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2
    / R2 SP1, 2012 R2, 2016

Linux:

  • Debian 9
  • RHEL 6, 7
  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS / 16.04 LTS

macOS:

  • Yosemite (10.10.5)
  • El Capitan (10.11.1)
  • Sierra (10.12)
  • High Sierra (10.13)

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Product Brief

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PIV EDITION Product Brief

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sc/interface Technical Data Sheet

  • sc/interface contains the following modules

    • Administrator Tool (sc/manager): Provides a complete range of card/token management functions (e.g., initialization, profiling, PIN management, key generation, fingerprint enrollment).
    • User Tool (sc/utility): Provides card/token management functions typically needed by users (e.g., PIN change, fingerprint enrollment).
    • Register Tool: Registers digital certificates stored on the card or token at the Windows operation system.
    • CSP Module: Connects to Microsoft Crypto API for use with most Windows versions.
    • Smart Card Minidriver: Connects to the Cryptographic API Next Generation interface for use with Windows 8.1 / 10 and Windows Server 2008 R2 / 2012 R2 / 2016.
    • PKCS#11 Module: Connects to a PKCS#11 interface, e.g., for use with Linux derivatives, macOS, and many application programs. All major card management systems use PKCS#11 for card initialization and personalization.
    • Tokend Module: Provides functionality for macOS.
  • sc/interface
    sc/interface is advanced smart card and token middleware ideal for customers demanding a high security level without compromising flexibility. Leveraging sc/interface is the solution of choice, whenever smart cards/tokens are to be used for encryption, authentication, or digital signatures in a Public Key Infrastructure. The flexibility sc/interface delivers allows for a single token to become a multipurpose device. sc/interface makes it easy to consolidate physical access with payment applications, secure website access, and digital form signing, as needed for e-commerce and e-government.

    Platforms
    sc/interface is available for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and macOS. A user can use the same smart card on different platforms.

    Smart Card Types
    sc/interface supports more than 90 smart card types and profiles, including cards supplied by Atos, Infineon, NXP, Gemalto, G&D, Siemens, and Austria Card.

    Form Factors
    sc/interface supports both contact and contactless smartcards. Along with smart cards, USB tokens, microSD cards and SIM cards smartphones can be used.

    Microsoft Virtual Smart Card
    sc/interface supports Microsoft Virtual Smart Card (MS VSC), including initialization and personalization processes. Thus, sc/interface enables the use of existing infrastructure in the case of a (partial) migration to MS VSC. This is an important benefit in heterogeneous environments.

    Crypto Interfaces
    sc/interface connects to contact, contactless and virtual smart cards. Along with smart cards, USB tokens, microSD cards, SIM cards, and smart phones can be used.

    eID Documents
    The scope of government eID projects with millions of cards issued requires coverage of all common platforms for broad user acceptance. sc/interface covers all major operating systems and supports modern security protocol standards like PACE.

    Biometrics
    sc/interface supports Match-on-Card fingerprint authentication. This option is more secure and more convenient than conventional PIN-based authentication.

    • Next Generation Crypto API
    • Password Authenticated Connection Establishment (PACE)
    • Virtual Smart Card support
    • Biometry
    • Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC)
    • Remote desktop operation and terminal servers
    • Localization support via language files
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Success story

SwissSign, a leading provider of innovative identity solutions and subsidiary of Swiss Post uses cryptovision’s smart card middleware sc/interface for their product SuisseID. SuisseID is a smart card, which stores certificates and private keys of its owner. SuisseID is accompanied by signature software (SwissSigner) and a solution for secure communication (IncaMail). The easy handling is granted by sc/interface, which is bundled with SuisseID software. Thanks to sc/interface the SwissSign signature cards and tokens can be used on Windows, macOS and Linux computers. No matter if the user accesses protected websites, signs PDF documents digitally or performs other cryptographic operations, sc/interface always works transparently in the background and thus rises customer satisfaction.

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