Smartcards and Mac OS/X

Robert J. Hansen rjh at
Tue Oct 30 14:54:43 CET 2007

Robert D. wrote:
> In a general question, what are the main reasons I would want to buy one?

Legal or employment reasons.  Some people have smart card usage mandated
to them.  These people tend to be the primary users.

Some people believe storing private keys on smart cards leads to better
physical security than storing them on easily-stolen laptops or PCs.
Others like to be able to carry their private key with them, so they can
use it at whichever computer they happen to be at (as long as that
computer has a card reader attached).

The major drawbacks are that if your card reader breaks, your private
key is inaccessible, and most smart cards are limited to RSA-1024 and a
ridiculously small amount of supporting data.  You will not be able to
carry your keyring around with you on the card.

> Are there decent Smart-Cards for Apple MacBooks ?

Smart cards are (mostly) interchangeable; there's a standard for how
they're laid out and how they interface with smart card readers.  The
real question is whether there are good card readers for OS X.

I can't help you with this; I don't use card readers, so I can't give
any recommendations.  However, a quick Google search for 'smart card
reader "OS X"' returned some useful results in the first few links.

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