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  • Bull Taking Orders for E-Money Smart Card Reader/Writer
  • November 6, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Bull KK of Japan said it is taking orders for SafePad, a reader/writer that authenticates smart card electronic money used for online shopping.
    SafePad is a device slightly larger than a mouse and designed to be connected to such devices as personal computers and set-top boxes.

    Until now, the SafePad has been used as a transaction settlement tool for the Cybercard Commerce Project, a joint electronic settlement project organized by Europay International, funded by the MasterCard International and joined by Bull of France. Bull recently decided to market the product in Japan because of the growing interest shown by Japanese firms.

    There are several methods to verify the authenticity of smart cards: (1) access an authentication server through a network; (2) authenticate the card by initializing the authentication program on a PC by transmitting the card data to a PC connected to a card reader/writer; and (3) have the reader/writer itself authenticate.

    Among the above methods, SafePad employs the reader/writer authentication system. Its built-in 16-bit processor, an exclusive processor (which corresponds to such encryption algorithms as DES and RSA) and memory allow the authentication program to be run over SafePad.

    SafePad is equipped with a 10-key pad and a compact liquid-crystal display screen. To authenticate a smart card, a user inserts the card into the SafePad and enters a user PIN with the 10-key pad. This makes it possible to identify illegally prepared cards and/or illegal usage.

    SafePad can be used as a smart card conforming to the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) specifications for Internet credit card transactions.

    SafePad is expected to be aimed mainly at OEMs at a price of about 30,000 yen (US$260).

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Thu Nov 5 18:42:22 1998 PDT