MacosxJonas is looking to do a Mac OS X Smart Card project – “Because I fear I will never have time to do this project I was wondering if any budding smart card tinkerers would be able to hack together a low end “smart card” authentication token for Mac OS X? As some know 10.4 has built in support for the US Government Smart Card Interface Standard authentication thanks to some government agencies using it. I also saw Cryptocard bragging that Apple included their driver by default (sorry I don’t know which one it is). Interestingly they sell both smart card AND USB devices which it says are compatible with Mac OS X..”Really what I would love to see is the ability to use one of these “smart cards” which I’ve recently seen popping up in laundry mats because obviously they’re cheap and plentiful which at least takes that component out of the equation (disclaimer: I don’t know anything about what underlying technology they use so I don’t know if it is feasible with these cards necessarily). I don’t know that smart card readers/writers are all that common but if you could get your hands on a reader then at least for the first try you could just verify that a given amount of money is on the card (2.75 for instance, depending on how much your laundry machines deduct(can be put on in $1 increments, but laundry machine can take off in non dollar amounts). According to Amit Singh’s tool page Mac OS X has included a port of tools (/usr/sbin/pcscd)taken from the Linux MUSCLE (Movement for the Use of Smart Cards in a Linux Environment) project, so it’s possible there’s that entire community of expertise which could be drawn upon as well. Failing smart cards even just a simple USB dongle device would be great (and of course probably easier). It could be as simple as reading a signed file off a shuffle or as complicated as challenge response with an ipod with linux on it.

Basically this is just an idea I think would be ultra cool if it became available using low end hardware and/or cards instead of the expensive government package that apple sells, as it would at least bring two factor authentication to the masses (yes Mr. Schneier we all want three factor auth, but one step at a time please).

Extra note:
greping around shows that
/System/Library/Extensions/SCR24X_Apple_Driver.kext
is listed as for a
“SCR24X PCMCIA Smart Card Reader”
according to
SCR24X_Apple_Driver.kext/Contents/Info.plist

This is the only instance of any mention of smart cards(that I found) in the pool of default kernel extensions.