- Why is this interesting?
- What do you need?
IMPORTANT: You need a PIN to use the card reader. If you don't have it, you can get it from the Bürgeramt. Without the PIN, you can't use the card as an authentication method. If you try to force it, you will block the card, and you will need to get a new one. You have been warned.
The German ID card is a smart card that can be used for authentication in many government websites. In order to use it, you need a card reader. You can use a Smartphone as a SmartReader on Windows and macOS. I haven't tried it to do it on Linux. The other option is to use a card reader. I bought a used a Reiner SCT cyberJack RFID standard from KleinAnzeigen.
In this post, I will explain how to configure and use a Reiner SCT card reader with a German ID in Linux Mint. I am using Linux Mint 21 Cinnamon (Vanessa).
Why is this interesting?
There are several services available online be Finanz Amt, Stadt Essen and other government agencies. You can use the card to authenticate yourself and use the services. For example, you can use it to submit your tax declaration, to get certificates, to fill forms and so on. All without leaving your home.
In the case of Stadt Essen you can find all the available services here: https://service.essen.de/home
What do you need?
- A Reiner SCT card reader. I am using a Reiner SCT cyberJack RFID standard. (There are other available, but I found on a short internet search that this one is the most compatible with Linux.)
- A German ID smart card. You can get it from the Bürgeramt.
- A PIN to use the card reader. You can get it from the Bürgeramt.
- A computer with Linux Mint installed. I am using Linux Mint 21 Cinnamon (Vanessa).
1. Install the required packages
sudo apt-get install pcscd libccid
2. Check if the card reader is detected by the system
lsusb | grep Reiner
If the card reader is detected, you should see something like this:
❯ lsusb | grep Reiner Bus 005 Device 020: ID 0c4b:9102 Reiner SCT Kartensysteme GmbH cyberJack RFID basis contactless smartcard reader
3. Restart the pcscd service
sudo killall /usr/sbin/pcscd; sudo /usr/sbin/pcscd --foreground --debug --apdu --color
4. Install the app to use the card as an authentication method AusweisApp2
You can download the app from https://www.ausweisapp.bund.de/open-source-software or search for "AusweisApp2" in "Discover" (the app store of Linux Mint). It is available as a flatpak.
You may also install it using the command line:
flatpak install de.bund.ausweisapp.ausweisapp2
Now you should be able to use the Card Reader with the German ID. Don't forget to get the PIN from the Bürgeramt. There you will receive a with a 5-digit PIN. You will need to change it to a 6-digit PIN in the AusweisApp2 app. Please save that 6-digit PIN in a safe place. You will need it to use the card as an authentication method. (I recommend and use KeepassXC to store my passwords. You may also use you Iphone or Android phone to store your passwords.)
5. OPTIONAL: Deactivate automatic deactivation of the pcsc service
sudo nano /lib/systemd/system/pcscd.service
and remove the ´´--auto-exit´´ option from the ExecStart line. Save the file (ctrl + o) and exit (ctrl + x). You may also use another editor like vim or gedit.
The card readers is detected but the AusweisApp2 says that the card reader is not available.
In this case just restart the pcscd service. Check the steps above.
- https://forum.reiner-sct.com/index.php?/topic/6328-cyberjack-rfid-standard-und-linux-mint-21/ -> this site referenced the site below.
- https://matrica.de/wiki/index.php/CCID_Chipkartenleser_unter_Linux -> this site has all the information in German and is the reason why I managed to make it work, specially for the part of restarting the pcscd service.