Smart cards, Tokens, Security and Applications

This book (Springer 2008), by Keith Mayes and Konstantinos Markantonakis (editors), provides an overview of secure chips and their applications. It mainly focuses on two types of tokens: contact and contactless. Excepted a brief introduction to Trusted Platform Modules (TPM), the book does not detail embedded IC or Hardware Secure Modules (HSM). The book depicts the major operating systems and environments (Java Card, Global Platform, MultOS…) and describes in details the application development environments for Java and SIM toolkit. The book explores different fields of application: mobile, banking, Pay TV and ID cards. A special focus is given to the mobile applications.

In my mind, smart card is strongly associated to security. Security is the absent one from this book. The book never speaks about the hacks. In the contactless field, often the transport cards are cited. Never the recent hacks have been cited. In the ID cards, never the recent problems of passports have been disclosed.

Should you read it? If you are looking for a basic introduction to smart cards, this may be one of the references to read. Thus, it may interest non-security students, people who want to have a first level of understanding, journalists… If you are looking for a good understanding of one of the domains of use of smart cards, then look for a more specialized book. If you are a security expert, definitively this book is not for you.

A more complete review is available on the IACR web site.

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