Anonymous credentials on a standard Java card

Patrik Bichsel, Jan Camenisch, Thomas Groß, Victor Shoup

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Secure identity tokens such as Electronic Identity (eID) cards are emerging everywhere. At the same time user-centric identity management gains acceptance. Anonymous credential schemes are the optimal realization of user-centricity. However, on inexpensive hardware platforms, typically used for eID cards, these schemes could not be made to meet the necessary requirements such as future-proof key lengths and transaction times on the order of 10 seconds. The reasons for this is the need for the hardware platform to be standardized and certified. Therefore an implementation is only possible as a Java Card applet. This results in severe restrictions: little memory (transient and persistent), an 8-bit CPU, and access to hardware acceleration for cryptographic operations only by defined interfaces such as RSA encryption operations. Still, we present the first practical implementation of an anonymous credential system on a Java Card 2.2.1. We achieve transaction times that are orders of magnitudes faster than those of any prior attempt, while raising the bar in terms of key length and trust model. Our system is the first one to act completely autonomously on card and to maintain its properties in the face of an untrusted terminal. In addition, we provide a formal system specification and share our solution strategies and experiences gained and with the Java Card.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCCS'09 - Proceedings of the 16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2009
Event16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS'09 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Nov 9 2009Nov 13 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
ISSN (Print)1543-7221


Other16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS'09
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL


  • Anonymous credential systems
  • Java card
  • Privacy-enhancing systems
  • Smart card

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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