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Java Card

Java Card definition

Java Card is a technology that allows Java programs (applets) to run securely on smart cards and similar small memory devices. It’s widely adopted for various applications requiring safe data storage and operations.

See also: access control system

History of Java Card

Sun Microsystems introduced Java Card in 1996. Its goal was to let smart cards use applications written in Java, ensuring portability and security. It has since become an industry standard for multi-application smart cards.

How Java Card Works

Java Card allows small Java applications (applets) to run on smart cards. It ensures that these applets operate in a secure, isolated environment. This prevents unauthorized access and protects the stored data.

Being Java-based, it provides platform independence. Applets can run on any Java Card smart card, regardless of the manufacturer. The Java Card Runtime Environment (JCRE) manages how applets operate, making sure they do not interfere with each other.

Java Card use cases

  • Banking. The Java Card technology is often used in credit and debit cards for secure financial activities.
  • Telecommunications. SIM cards in mobile phones use Java Card to securely store and manage user data and services.
  • Identity verification. It is used in national ID cards, driving licenses, and passports to securely store personal info.
  • Transportation. Public transit cards often use Java Card for fare management and access control.
  • Access control. Many modern key cards use the technology to manage access to buildings or rooms based on the data stored on the card.