vb.net code 128 reader Hardware-Based Key Storage in Software

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We ve just examined PBE as a possible way to store cryptographic keys. Another storage place is on a hardware device. Some devices are tiny computers called tokens. Others are larger, tamperproof boxes, generally called crypto accelerators.
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A token is not a cell phone or a personal digital assistant (PDA) such as Palm, iPaq, and so on, but rather is something even smaller that fits inside your wallet or shirt pocket: a plastic smart card, a plastic key, a small USB port attachment, or even a ring you wear on your finger. (Smart cards and USB port attachments, the most common types of tokens, are discussed in the following two sections.) A token contains a small chip with a processor, an operating system of sorts, and limited input/output, memory, and hard drive storage space. Some tokens are very small or thin, are slow, have very little storage space, and do very little. Others may have more power and can store as much information as a 1970s era PC. Figure 3-7 shows some tokens.
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Figure 3-7 Some tokens
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Symmetric-Key Management
The advantage of using tokens is that the attacker does not have access to them. If our attacker Ray is in Elbonia, he can probably use the internet to access Pao-Chi s computers hard drives and does not need to be in his office to break in. (As you may know, Elbonia is a fictional country featured in the Dilbert comic strip by Scott Adams.) But Pao-Chi s token is not connected to the network (it s in his wallet or on his key chain or finger), so it s not visible. This arrangement thwarts a remote attack. When Pao-Chi uses his token, it s connected to his computer, which is ultimately connected to the world, so for a brief while, his secrets are vulnerable. But a few seconds of vulnerability is not as dangerous as the 24 hours a day the network is vulnerable. Even if Ray obtains Pao-Chi s token, further protections are built-in. Generally, a token performs functions (such as retrieving stored keys) only when a correct password or personal identification number (PIN) activates it. Often, a token locks itself if too many incorrect passwords are entered. If someone tries to physically get at the storage space (as in 1 with data recovery techniques), the token will erase itself sort of a scorched earth policy. This scorched earth thwarts an offline attack on the password. The problem with tokens is that they need a way to communicate with the computer; once they can communicate with the computer, they can communicate with users through the computer. For example, you communicate with the computer by using the keyboard and mouse. Sound systems communicate using a sound card. A token might use the serial or USB port, or even the floppy drive. Some tokens use a reader to one of the ports. It s the reader that communicates with the computer. To use the token, you insert it into the reader, something that s generally easier than inserting it into a port. Of course, this means that you must buy the reader as well as the token and then install it.
Smart Cards
A smart card is simply a plastic card, similar to a credit card, that contains a microprocessor. One of the goals of smart card vendors is to replace the current version of the credit card. Just as credit cards with magnetic strips replaced simpler embossed cards, the hope is that smart cards will replace credit cards. But because smart cards contain small computers, they will be able to do more than serve as credit cards. We ll talk more about smart cards throughout this book, but for now, one of the things you can do with them is to store keys. When you need to
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