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Smart Card Technology Enhances FIDO Implementations for Strong Authentication

Smart Card Alliance white paper highlights benefits of smart card technology in FIDO authentication standard implementations

PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., May 2, 2016 – Today, the FIDO Alliance is working to provide simpler, stronger authentication to reduce reliance on usernames and passwords, which are susceptible to a wide range of attacks. Organizations implementing FIDO authentication standards should consider using smart card technology to enhance their implementations, as discussed in a new Smart Card Alliance white paper released today.

The white paper, “Smart Card Technology and the FIDO Protocols,” was created by the Smart Card Alliance’s Identity Council, and can be downloaded at http://www.smartcardalliance.org/alliance-activities-publications-smart-card-technology-and-the-fido-protocols/.

“The FIDO Alliance is making great strides in standardizing strong authentication to replace easy-to-hack passwords. Incorporating smart card technology with an implementation of either of the FIDO protocols can strengthen the security of the identity authentication process and bring the benefits of smart card technology to a wider audience,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. “This white paper demonstrates how the addition of smart card technology to a FIDO protocol implementation is a critical piece of the puzzle to make the online world more trusted.”

To describe the role of smart card technology in enhancing the security of FIDO implementations, the white paper includes:

·         An overview of the FIDO principles and protocols, including the Universal Second Factor (FIDO U2F) and the Universal Authentication Framework (FIDO UAF)

·         A description of the security benefits of using smart card technology in FIDO protocol implementations

·         Examples of use cases currently implementing the FIDO protocols with smart card technology, including Gemalto, Google, Infineon Technologies, Morpho (Safran), NXP Semiconductors, Oberthur Technologies and Yubico implementations

“The FIDO Alliance supports this effort from the Smart Card Alliance to educate and broaden the use of the FIDO authentication standards. With FIDO specifications where all user credentials are stored on-device to protect them from scalable attack, utilizing trusted hardware such as a secure element can offer additional protection for those credentials,” said Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance. “This resource is a great example of how our liaison program brings organizations together to propel the widespread adoption of the FIDO standards, and we look forward to future collaboration with Smart Card Alliance.”

This white paper is part of the Smart Card Alliance and FIDO Alliance liaison partnership, which allows cooperation and collaboration between the two organizations to accelerate informed adoption of the FIDO standards.


For more information about the Identity Council, visit http://www.smartcardalliance.org/activities-councils-identity/. Information about the FIDO protocols is available at https://fidoalliance.org/specifications/overview/.


Participants involved in the development of this white paper included: CH2M; Deloitte & Touche LLP; Gemalto; Identiv; Infineon Technologies; Initiative for Open Authentication (OATH); Morpho (Safran); NXP Semiconductors; Oberthur Technologies; SAIC; SureID, Inc.; XTec, Inc.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.

Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit http://www.smartcardalliance.org


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