Hi – everyone!

 

 I’m David Cross the Director of Program Management for Windows Security.  It has been a while since I last posted to this blog during the Windows Vista beta cycle on UAC.  I thought a new posting from myself was long overdue and I have some exciting news to share on one of my favorite topics:  smartcards!

 

PKI enabled smart cards and tokens are the two-factor authentication technologies of choice on the Windows platform. The vision of making smart cards ubiquitous, easy to use and guarantee a high quality, consistent user experience is being enabled by Microsoft’s investment in the Windows Smartcard Framework (WSF). The introduction of smart card minidrivers that works with the Smart Card Base CSP and Smart Card KSP were the first steps towards realizing this vision. Today, the next major step towards realizing the Windows Smartcard Framework vision has been realized with the launch of the Smart Card Minidriver Certification program.

 

The creation of a certification program for smart card mindirivers and smart cards is one of the key pillars of Microsoft’s Windows Smartcard Framework and part of Microsoft’s ongoing and broader investment in security. This investment ensures that for the first time ever our customers can expect a consistent quality level when deploying smart cards on Windows to enable strong two-factor authentication.  The smart card minidriver certification program was developed by Microsoft’s Smart Card Certification Center in the Ireland based European Development Center. The certification program was developed in close cooperation with the smart card industry to ensure an appropriate quality that meets the needs of Microsoft, IHVs and the issuers and users of smart cards.

 

The smart card minidriver certification program will provide a uniform quality measure for V5 smart card minidrivers, award the “Works with Windows Vista” logo to minidrivers and smart cards that meet this criteria on Windows Vista and allow these mindirivers to be distributed through Windows Update. The program is available for X86, X64 and IA64 platforms that run Windows XP, Windows 2003 and Windows Vista.

 

To participate in the program, smart card IHVs should open a Winqual account (https://winqual.microsoft.com/), review the Windows Logo Requirements for Smart Card Minidrivers, download the Windows Logo Kit (WLK) from (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/DevTools/WDK/WDKpkg.mspx), test their card minidrivers against the certification kit in the WLK and submit these drivers through Winqual once the smart card minidriver passes all the tests. The submission and publication of the smart card minidriver can be managed through the Winqual portal. The smart card minidriver specifications, along with certification requirements are available from WHDC (http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/default.mspx).

 

-          David B. Cross