Smart card players join to advance secure public transport smart card applications

Smart Card Makers Giesecke & Devrient and Oberthur Technologies, and Chip Providers Infineon and INSIDE Contactless Launch Initiative to Establish Open Standard

Smart card manufacturers Giesecke & Devrient GmbH (G&D), Oberthur Technologies S.A., and chip suppliers Infineon Technologies and INSIDE Contactless S.A. have announced that they have launched an industry initiative to provide a new security solution for next-generation smart card based public transport applications. The solution will build on an open standard now being implemented by the four partner companies, which will eventually be governed by an independent body. Companies active in the smart card arena – providers of chips, smart cards, application-specific operating software, reader devices and transportation systems – are invited to join the initiative for the advancement of more secure public transportation applications.

The new standard promises to bring a some key benefits to both public transport agencies and smart card industry players, including higher performance and advanced system security for public transport applications, as well as the availability of multiple sources for chip products. Through independent testing, the open standard will also give optimized interoperability to enable simple and fast integration into public transport schemes. The first emulation chips and transportation smart cards using this standard are scheduled to be available by the end of 2010.

Players roles

The industry initiative is based on groundwork performed by Infineon who have developed a hardware-based security system specifically suited for public transportation smart card applications. It’s comprised of a specific authentication scheme using the open and well-accepted Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 128-bit key length and file types and command sets based on the ISO/IEC 7816 standard. Employing AES, an encryption algorithm also used for commercial transactions, will significantly increase security over less-robust security schemes widely used in current public transportation systems. Using the encryption and secure messaging scheme for authentication, data encryption and Message Authentication Coding (MACing) allows high flexibility and fast adoption for different applications. Infineon, which has already started its own chip development based on the open standard security system, has verified the feasibility of the authentication scheme, enabling the other manufacturers to start their development work immediately.

Tilo Pannebäcker, Infineon TechnologiesThe fabless semiconductor company INSIDE Contactless has already signed an agreement with Infineon to implement the security scheme for its chip platforms. In addition, two of the world’s top three card manufacturers, G&D and Oberthur Technologies, have already agreed to develop public transport applications based on the scheme.

You can hear what Tilo Pannenbäcker, head of Infineon’s transport business, had to say about this new industry initiative over at Security-News TV