INFOBYTES: Smart cards may make passwords passé

June 2004 
Volume 34  Number 6
Pages 73 - 73
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  • Two types

  • A sense of security



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    CHANCES ARE you already have a smart card in your wallet; this technology has been around for some time, mostly in the form of consumer credit cards. But smart cards hold great promise for health care too, whether as an information card carrying a patient's medical record or an ID card allowing access to buildings and computer systems.

    But before we go into the possibilities, let's take a closer look at what smart cards are and how they work.

    A smart card looks like a familiar credit card. But instead of a magnetic strip on the back—where information is encoded on the typical credit card—the smart card sports a computer chip about 1 cm square on its front. The microchip has special protection to prevent memory tampering.

    All necessary information and functions ...

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