generate keys on smartcard?

Werner Koch wk at
Thu Dec 12 22:13:02 CET 2002

On Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:02:45 +0100, Bernd Eckenfels said:

>> Even if a key was uploaded to the smartcard it won't be possible to
>> retrieve it again.

> Typically this feature is done to protect the user from himself. Like for
> example required for the Signaturgesetz (Signature Law in Europe).

The real advantage is that you can't trojan a machine to read out the
secret key.  Without a well equipped lab it is even hard to probe a
modern card to get the key out.

> I think the key generation can be triggered by (card) vendor tools, this is
> not a big deal. The only thing in GPGs case would be to 

There is actually an ISO commands to generate a keypair (INS 0x46),
although you need vendor specific parameters.  Not a big deal and
tehre is no need to use a vendor tool - a card without available specs
might have otehr problems too.

> a) work with the smartcard crypto interface, which is also needed for those
> smart cards which allow the key to be loaded

Thsi will be an extension of the scdaemon from the Aegypten project.

> c) be able to use a smart card stored certificate to validate signatures (at
> least retrieve that certificate and put it in keystore)

Or store the fingerprint of some well known keys.

> The last option is needed, but that way a ca issued smartcard will also be
> the vehicle to deliver the ca's root cert to the user.

Ah well, I am thinking more of PGP than X.509.  For X.509 keys stored
in a pkcs-15 application we already have good support.  However
getting these cards is not easy unless you are Finnish, Swedish or
Estonian citizen.



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