NIH is now issuing PIV cards with 128k smart card chips. The 128k chips have a faster computer processer than the old 64k cards and can store your past five (5) email encryption certificates, known as ‘key management certificates.’ This new capability means that when you renew your badge or certificates you will be able to continue to read your old encrypted emails without having to recover your old certificates.
The 128K Card Requires a “patched” Version of ActivClient
The 128k cards will not work properly unless your Windows desktop or laptop, including Windows 7 systems, has been loaded with version 220.127.116.11 (or above) of the ActivClient ‘middleware’.*
If ActivClient is installed on your Windows system, the Windows notification area (i.e., a group of icons usually located in the lower-right corner of the screen) will show a grey diamond icon that looks like a smart card reader; click on the icon and select About to determine the version of the software.
If you need ActivClient, or an upgrade to the latest version, please contact the NIH IT Service desk at 301-496-4357 to have your IC’s IT department install this software. ActivClient and the latest ActivClient hotfixes are available for download from CIT’s Information Systems Designated Procurement Program at: http://isdp.nih.gov/isdp/version.action?prodid=127
You May Receive a Warning that Your Certificates Have or Will Soon Expire
Since the 128k cards can contain your prior (expired) encryption certificates, the ActivClient middleware may prompt you with a message that these certificates are near or past their expiration date (ActivClient automatically checks for expiring certificates after your smart card has been in the card reader for at least 20 seconds).
If the message refers only to Key Management History certificates, (i.e., your old encryption certificates), select the ‘Do not remind me’ radio button to disable future warnings about those certificates. However, if the message refers to 3 different types of certificates that have the same expiration date, it is time to renew your smart card certificates
For more information, please refer to the NIH Knowledge Base article at: http://itsolutionscenter.cit.nih.gov/selfservice/php/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=19018&sliceId=1&docTypeID=DT_REFERENCE_1_1&dialogID=13720055&stateId=0%200%2013716352
How to tell if you have a 64K or 128K card:
The 64K cards have a serial number on the back of the card that starts with 2050. The 128K cards have serial number on the back that starts with 4820.
* ActivClient middleware is smart card software that enables computer applications to talk to the computer chip on the HHS smart card ID badge.