I have a new smart card with an on board PKCS#11 module and operate in a Win 8 environment. Like many cards, it can generate its own key pairs for enhanced security (only the public key can leave the card). The keys generated are not OTP keys, they are stored directly into one of the available PKCS#11 slots.

In particular, I would like to use such keys for ssh/putty connections. I have tried a number of smart-card enabled Putty clones as well as Salt. At no point am I offered the possibility to use any of the OBKG key pairs I had the card generate. However, all are able to present keys stored on the card imported via preexisting .p12 bundles.

Question: What is necessary for programs and OS to access card generated key structures, or more simply, know that they exist and are available for use? [not asking how to pull a private key out, that should never be allowed]

For completeness, the card in question is a Gemalto IDPrime 3810 which is not PKCS#15 compatible and uses a Gemalto mini-driver and pkcs#11 dll.

Accessing OBKG keys is possible in the general sense (ie, with other smart cards/tokens) and specifically this comment from a Gemalto user. Not much point to having the ablity to generate these keys if there is no way to extract/use them.

1 Answer 1


For those looking on how to make use of the OBKG function on some Gemalto smart cards with SSH, I wrote up my experience here I'm sure someone with more knowledge could automate the process (or knows a better way) but mine did work out in the end.

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