City of Sunderland College and NERSC Smart Card Initiative


 City of Sunderland College and NERSC Smart Card Initiative

City of Sunderland College and NERSC Smart Card Initiative

The college has recently seen an increase in the popularity of smart devices from students, staff, and visitors. Along with this, there has been a significant rise in fraudulently obtained or misused Government issued cards. This article aims to help prevent card fraud by explaining how to protect yourself from card theft.

In order to gain access to services, people use identification documents such as driving licences or passports. Card-based systems can be used to store and transmit information relating to individuals. It is important that the information stored on cards is sufficiently secure and personal data remains confidential. Government agencies use a variety of card technologies to provide services for citizens and businesses; these range from smart cards such as the ones used at NERSC, which contain their own microprocessors, through magnetic stripe cards that are read by relatively simple card readers, and on up to chip-based cards more like your bank card – a card with embedded contacts designed for high security applications.

The NERSC smart card uses a chip called a smart card chip or integrated circuit card (ICC). This is an embedded microprocessor that connects to the network and can be used for a range of functions. They have become increasingly popular as they are relatively inexpensive and offer substantial savings in time and resources. Smart cards are used at NERC to manage logins, including the use of our computer systems.

What is a Smart Card?
The term "smart card" refers to credit-card sized devices that contain computer chips which can store information and perform computational tasks. Smart cards are used for a range of Government purposes where their functionality can be extended through computer and network access systems and other hardware.

Each card is constructed in different ways but a typical smart card contains a microprocessor, a memory section containing the application binary interface code (ABI) required by the host system and the operating system, and multiple user interfaces such as an LED, magnetic stripe reader and radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that are used to read and write data.

There are many types of smart card depending on their level of security. Full-key cards like the NERSC cards provide all the necessary encryption keys to validate transactions which are then time stamped by a clock provided in each card. This ensures the authenticity of the card. NERSC cards are based on the T-13 standard and have an ISO 7816 interface.

The NERSC cards are used to access our computer systems. Once the card is swiped through a reader, its data is checked against a list of approved users before allowing access. Cards are not reusable and we have strict controls in place to ensure they cannot be duplicated or copied.

You can check your card's balance and expiry date by logging on our website:

How can I protect myself from fraud?
The most important thing you can do is to safeguard your card.

As a responsible employee or student you need to ensure that your NERSC smart card is kept safe. Please keep the card in a safe place and do not carry it around in your wallet.
If you have any questions about the NERSC smart card or log-in security, please email

Signed: NERSC Helpdesk Team

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