What can I do with my laptop's smartcard reader, at a hobby level?
August 11, 2015 1:17 AM   Subscribe

My laptop has a smartcard reader (writer?). I'd like to use this but it seems they are the domain of government IT and corporate enterprise solutions - I can't find much info to help a curious hobbiest get started or do anything with it. Is there smartcards-for-dummies info out there? What fun (or security-related) things could I do with a smartcard reader?

I'm reasonably computer competent - I can write simple code, build/repair my own computer, etc, but I don't have a lot of experience with security or enterprise solutions or corporate IT.

My computer has the smartcard slot, and drivers installed, but no smartcard-related software. If I put a smartcard in there, nothing happens.
(I have some blank smartcards, but I don't know if they're the right type, or what to look for in buying smartcards. The reader is a "O2Micro OZ776 USB CCID Smartcard Reader")

I like the idea of my laptop being operational only if a coded smartcard is in the slot (and having several duplicate smartcards in a safe place)... how difficult might that be? The laptop runs on bitlocker and Win8.1 Pro. (Soon win10)
Guest-account access cards?

I like the idea of being able to see basic info on a chip cards and simcards, if that's possible.

Are there are more creative things to do?
Use cards like low capacity thumbdrives

I don't even know what's feasible because the smartcard info I've found assumes an expert audience.
posted by anonymisc to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Most smart card readers are standardized so yours should work with pretty much whatever.

For looking at cards, there's Cardpeek that can read chip payment cards (aka, EMV cards), SIM cards, and others. If you want to know some more about what you're seeing when you read an EMV card, check out this reddit thread.

Windows won't do smart card authentication for user accounts all by itself unless it is joined to an Active Directory domain. There is at least one third-party program that does it but only for Home versions of Windows (for free, the pay version does all).

If you have a regular authentication smart card (like one issued from your work), you can see what certificates and such are stored on it by opening a command prompt (Windows+R, cmd) and running: certutil -scinfo
posted by fireoyster at 4:18 AM on August 11, 2015

On the security front, two factor auth:
posted by yeahwhatever at 4:16 PM on August 13, 2015

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