OpenPGP Smartcard Advantages

Jan Niehusmann jan at
Fri Jun 3 18:25:38 CEST 2005

On Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 09:30:22AM -0500, Alex L. Mauer wrote:
> Wouldn't it thus be trivial [for a malicious host] to destroy a smart
> card (by sending the wrong admin pin repeatedly)?

It is - but a malicious card reader could also fry the card with some
high voltage pulses. But at least you know that something bad happend,
you know who (or at least which host - it may have been cracked) did it,
and you did know the risk when you put the card into the reader. And it's
not worse than losing the card.

I wondered if the card couldn't just erase itself completly when the
wrong Admin-PIN is entered three times. This would at least save the
card itself, which is worth some euros. But OTOH, just locking the card
is probably easier to implement in a safe way (it's an atomic operation
which can't be aborted by just turning of power, for example).


More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list