Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


08:15 AM
Connect Directly

Deadline Could Spur Smart Cards

HSPD-12 requires unified government credentials - deployments serve as a proving ground

U.S. federal agencies are gearing up to deploy new, standards-based smart card technology that could soon be an attractive option for large enterprises as well.

Agencies are making changes in their building security systems today in an effort to meet the October compliance deadline for Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-12, Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors. HSPD-12 requires that all government agencies adopt strict policies to identify and credential employees and contractors, and to issue a secure electronic credential, which will take the form of a smart card that shares a common format across all agencies.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, working with the U.S. Department of Commerce, developed the guidelines for the smart card technology under its NIST Personal Identification Validation Program (NPIVP) program. Compliance with the processes and technical requirements, which are defined in FIPS-201-1, Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors, is required by October.

Smart cards, experts say, have a number of advantages over other types of security credentials. They can carry multiple identities and other data in a portable form factor, and they can be used for both physical and electronic access. But the technology is not simple or cheap to deploy, so agencies are "trying to work through a viable, cost effective rollout," says David Troy, practice leader for identity management at Electronic Data Systems (EDS).

While the agencies are taking some arrows during their HSPD-12 projects, their large-scale deployments of the technology should help the private sector, Troy said. "HSPD-12 is accelerating convergence within the security industry itself. Functionally and organizationally, the security industry landscape is changing rapidly to meet this new market. Secondly, because so many federal government employees and contractors will be using this new standard, the private sector will most likely adopt it, or a form of it, as well."

Enterprises will also benefit from the lessons learned by the agencies as they deploy the HSPD-12 technology, Troy observed.

Capital costs for the technology probably won't drop, however. Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director of the Smart Card Alliance, doesn't expect the prices of smart card and support systems to fall as a result of HSPD-12: "The supporting systems will be more feature-rich at the same price points," he says, "and systems that don't support smart cards today will evolve into ones that do."

— Mike Fratto, Editor at Large, Dark Reading

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) (NYSE: EDS)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Smart Card Alliance

    Mike Fratto is a principal analyst at Current Analysis, covering the Enterprise Networking and Data Center Technology markets. Prior to that, Mike was with UBM Tech for 15 years, and served as editor of Network Computing. He was also lead analyst for InformationWeek Analytics ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 5/22/2020
    How an Industry Consortium Can Reinvent Security Solution Testing
    Henry Harrison, Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer, Garrison,  5/21/2020
    Is Zero Trust the Best Answer to the COVID-19 Lockdown?
    Dan Blum, Cybersecurity & Risk Management Strategist,  5/20/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
    Current Issue
    How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
    This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
    Flash Poll
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    An issue was discovered in the Image Resizer plugin before 2.0.9 for Craft CMS. There are CSRF issues with the log-clear controller action.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    An issue was discovered in the Image Resizer plugin before 2.0.9 for Craft CMS. There is stored XSS in the Bulk Resize action.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    A Remote code execution vulnerability exists in DEXT5Upload in DEXT5 through 2.7.1402870. An attacker can upload a PHP file via dext5handler.jsp handler because the uploaded file is stored under dext5uploadeddata/.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-25
    Cybozu Desktop for Windows 2.0.23 to 2.2.40 allows remote code execution via unspecified vectors.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-05-24
    ffjpeg through 2020-02-24 has an invalid read in jfif_encode in jfif.c.