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It also supports 3DES and remote key loading. The company also claims that the use of touch screens also mitigates the risk of fraudsters replacing or tampering with mechanical encrypting PIN pads. But what about camera skimming and shoulder surfing on such touch screen PIN interfaces? This is an area that German startup siOPTICA GmbH is addressing with a switchable privacy optical filter. As Dr. Markus Klippstein, CEO of siOPTICA GmbH told us, siOSwitcha combines a passive polymer display overlay designed with proprietary patterns that affect the optical path in such a way (a bit like the simpler parallax barriers used on cheap animated postcards) that dedicated display software can be used to scramble the side views only both from specific horizontal and vertical viewable angles. siOPTICA’ siOSwitch combines a passive polymer display overlay and special software. The overlay is 90% transparent, maintaining a bright crisp image, yet it completely blocks unauthorized side views and the privacy effect is switchable by software and on-demand for either the full screen or part of it. This has to be compared with existing privacy filters that typically darken the whole screen (about 40% of brightness loss) but still fail to completely block side-views as a faint image can still be seen under the restricted angles. For battery-operated devices, this is a clear winner as it allows the reduction of the display illumination. The software solution can even take eye tracking into the equation to implement a sweet privacy spot (scrambling the display just outside the first user’s direct view angle). What’s more, the PIN pad can easily be moved around the screen or scaled to increase anti-skimming protection. One of the finalists for this year’s Sesames Awards both in the Identification/ID cards/health/e-government and the Banking/ payment/e-transactions categories, Norwegian startup Zwipe AS was exhibiting a mockup of its biometric payment card. Mid-October, the company announced a partnership with MasterCard for the launch of the world’s first contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. To eliminate privacy issues, cardholder fingerprint data is stored directly on the card’s secure element, not in an external database. The card is activated by pressing your thumb (or any other previously enrolled finger) during the swipe over an NFC card reader. Here the biometric authentication replaces the PIN entry, securing payments of any amount, wirelessly. The card is built from commercially available components but the real breakthrough came from software, told us Gildas Chabot, lead technical developer at Zwipe. “By developing proprietary biometric algorithms and by pushing NFC-based energy harvesting beyond what is commercially available, we were able to design a contactless card that is also batteryless”, explained Chabot, “something that a lot of other companies have tried to do before without success”. Naturally, the card has no battery lifetime limitations either and is more reliable than battery-enabled alternatives. “It took us five years of development to optimize our fingerprint processing algorithms in such a way they would be power efficient enough to run from RF-energy harvesting”, added Chabot. The company is ready to licence the IP on both its software and RF-energy harvesting solutions. It could also deliver embedded modules for medium volume orders. It took seven years of development at Card Tech, an Italian company created in 2005 to focus on mobile security, before it was ready to unveil its biometric credit card. Compliant to ISO 7810ID-1, the international standard of most payment cards, the 0.76mm thin smartcard integrates IDEX’s flexible polymer capacitive fingerprint sensor for user authentication. The smart card is powered by an internal thin-film rechargeable battery. While the biometric system is totally powered by the reader’s external supply in contact operations whilst the battery recharges, it is assisted by the battery when used for contactless operation (in that case, the battery can still benefit from the contactless interface for RF energy harvesting). An argument that Card Tech likes to put forward is that the battery-assisted operations of the Biometric System-on-Card allows the usage of the card with any RFID or NFC reader (access control, POS, mobile devices, ecc.), regardless of the RF field strength. That may be a small punch at battery-less Norwegian competitor Zwipe AS. First, the user presses a power-up button, then he/she authenticates, and the card is activated for payment (a green LED signals when it is ready for transaction). The biometric sensor is tied to IDEX’s authentication algorithm running on a low power micro-controller to reconstruct in real-time the fingerprint image and compare it with the user’s enrolled fingerprint. The verification of the user’s biometric data is performed on the card, without the need for an external database. The card can be manufactured with a standard hot lamination process, using PVC foils, ensuring a tamper-resistant construction together with a low production cost. Card Tech says its card is now ready for mass production, with an undisclosed first-tier manufacturing partner in the loop for the industrialization and PCBA manufacturing. The Zwipe card runs its fingerprint authentication process battery-less. Card Tech’s fingerprint-enabled card is ready for mass production. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2014 15


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