Multos Technology

Introduction to MULTOS Technology

Smartcards represent a step change in the delivery of services and data processing between providers and clients. The core functions of the smartcard, namely security, cryptographic operations, and the ability to process information requires particular attention to the underlying technology platform. Added to this is a desire by card issuers, whether they are financial institutions, governments or any other issuer of secure tokens, to maintain control of the applications that reside on this secure environment.

MULTOS was designed to meet these core objectives.

The MULTOS Framework

More than just an operating system, or a set of APIs, MULTOS is an open, high security, multi-application platform, defining a complete issuing environment. Each of the constituent elements and processes is designed and implemented to ensure the Issuer is in control over the smartcard lifecycle. This is entirely contained within the MULTOS specifications and thereby does not rely on external or supplemental standards.


The MULTOS implementation is developed on secure silicon chips and offers a platform for multiple applications to securely co-reside and execute. The specification includes the card operating system, application programming interfaces (APIs), and card application management for loading and deleting only those applications that are authorised by the issuer.

The MULTOS specifications allow for either a standard MULTOS card (for chips with RSA crypto-coprocessors) or a MULTOS step/one card (for lower-end and lower cost chips with no RSA cryptographic capability). Both support the same MULTOS commands and APIs, so applications can execute on either platform (except for RSA functions).

MULTOS applications are the most efficient in the industry. An application development SDK is available free of charge enabling development in 'C', Java, or a highly efficient low level language (MEL).

Ensuring Confidence

Designed from the ground up as a high assurance security platform, the MULTOS architecture is specifically targeted for the limited resource environment of a smartcard, and offers what no other technology can:

  • Security Architecture
  • Interoperability & Supply Chain Management

The MULTOS Issuance Process

At the heart of the MULTOS process is the Issuer, utilising the security and independence of the MULTOS Key Management Authority (for MULTOS products) or the s/w utility Control Centre (for MULTOS step/one products).

Key Management: Creates the MULTOS cryptographic components that link the issuer to each unique MULTOS card. This includes the enablement data and the application digital certificates used by the card to control loading/deleting permissions.

Personalisation: MULTOS supports a unique off-card data preparation model, allowing applications to be personalised before the physical card is presented to the personalisation equipment. The application is packaged into an ALU (Application Load Unit) and along with the ALC (Application Load Certificate) is then loaded onto the MULTOS card.

Issuance Process