Entering Your Smartcard PIN

Whenever SafeHouse needs to retrieve a password from your smartcard, it will first see if your PIN is still saved in memory. If so, you will not need to re-enter your PIN. The amount of time your PIN stays cached (remembered) in memory is configurable on the Smartcard Options tab (some manufacturers have a separate way of setting this value).

If your PIN is not cached, or you've just recently inserted your card, then SafeHouse will prompt for your PIN using the dialog pictured below.

It is perfectly okay to remove and re-insert different smartcards while responding to this dialog.

Smartcard Label

The label or name for your smartcard is displayed in the lower left area of the PIN dialog. If you have not yet inserted your card, then you'll be instructed to insert your card, as is the case in the above screen shot.

Login

Enter your PIN and click Login to accept.

If you enter an invalid PIN, the dialog will remain up and you'll see an appropriate message. Try again or click Cancel to exit.

Cancel

If you click Cancel, SafeHouse will respond in some appropriate manner for the given circumstance. In many cases, this would simply be to display a normal password entry dialog or input field and let you manually type your volume's password.

Locked Smartcards

If you see an error message indicating that your smartcard is locked due to too many failed login attempts, you'll need to use the manufacturer's software to unlock your card. SafeHouse does not have the ability to unlock commercial smartcards.

Alternate PIN Dialogs

Some smartcard products supported by SafeHouse include their own internal PIN dialogs. When you are using one of these products, SafeHouse will let the manufacturer's software prompt for your smartcard PIN instead of prompting itself using the dialog pictured here. In this case, it's usually the manufacturer's software which controls the PIN cache timeout.

Automatic PIN Entry from USB Memory Sticks

SafeHouse can auto-type your PIN from a text file stored on your memory stick. This feature only works when using SafeHouse's virtual smartcards, and there are some important security points you should understand before using this option.

If you write your PIN to a readable file on your virtual smartcard, anyone who gains possession of your memory stick will have access to your PIN, and consequently, your SafeHouse volumes.

You might wonder why we've implemented a feature with such obvious security concerns -- it's because so many of our customers have requested it. Our policy is that as long as you're aware of the pitfalls, the choice is yours to make. In this case, the memory stick behaves more like your car key; possession is all that is needed to use it.

This feature requires SafeHouse v3.02 or later.

To enable this feature:
  1. Create your SafeHouse virtual smartcard on a memory stick in the usual way.

  2. Use the Windows Notepad text editor to create a file named PIN.TXT in the SafeHouse folder of your memory stick.
    This file must contain your PIN -- nothing else.

  3. SafeHouse will then retrieve your PIN from this file instead of prompting you to type it manually.

To disable this feature:
  1. Delete the PIN.TXT file from your memory stick.

  2. Use SafeHouse to change the PIN for your USB smartcard to make sure the old PIN can no longer be used.

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