AlcorMicro AU9560 reader and fast smart cards: help from crowd needed

The AlcorMicro AU9560 smart card reader has problems with high speed smart cards.

The reported problem

The same problem is already reported in different places:

Example of cards in reported problems

The reader is always the same but used with different cards.

The card must have a TA1 > 0x95. To know the TA1 of your smart card you need to get and parse the card's ATR, for example using pcsc_scan program from pcsc-tools.

The problem

The reader declares it can support card/reader communication speed up to 688 172 bps.
See dwMaxDataRate field in AlcorMicro_AU9560.txt.

It is fast but I have 4.5 % of readers in my list that declare to be faster (not including contactless readers).

But speeds above ~200 000 bps are problematic with the AlcorMicro AU9560. It works fine, until an APDU exchange fails with a "Hardware error" (for example) message from the reader:

00000009 APDU: 00 A4 00 00 02 3F 00 00
00000007 ifdhandler.c:1333:IFDHTransmitToICC() usb:058f/9540:libudev:0:/dev/bus/usb/001/002 (lun: 0)
00000006 commands.c:1670:CmdXfrBlockAPDU_extended() T=0 (extended): 8 bytes
00000017 -> 000000 6F 08 00 00 00 00 0E 00 00 00 00 A4 00 00 02 3F 00 00
02734396 <- 000000 80 00 00 00 00 00 0E 41 FB 00
00000025 commands.c:1563:CCID_Receive Hardware error
00000009 APDU: 00 A4 00 00 02 3F 00 00

Where are the bogus readers?

The AlcorMicro AU9560 is not a stand alone USB reader. It must be integrated in a laptop. For example it is present in these laptop models:

  • Lenovo Thinkpad P17
  • Lenovo Thinkpad L15
  • Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen 2
  • HP Zbook
  • HP EliteBook.

I guess the same AlcorMicro AU9560 reader is present in a lot of other Lenovo or HP laptops and also laptops from other brands. 


I worked on a patch to remove the highest speeds so that the CCID driver will negotiate a lower speed that is still supported by the reader. 

Problem with the patch

My patch works fine with one card I have (NXP JCOP 4). But it generates problems with another card (Acos-ID).

The error occurs when the driver set the communication speed. The Set Parameters commands fails and the driver gets a "Card absent or mute" error.

00000004 [140396399142464] commands.c:2324:SetParameters() length: 7 bytes
00000006 [140396399142464] -> 000000 61 07 00 00 00 00 07 01 00 00 95 10 FF 46 00 FE 00
01646726 [140396415927872] ccid_usb.c:1532:InterruptRead() after (0) (2)
00621370 [140396399142464] <- 000000 82 00 00 00 00 00 07 41 FE 00
00000025 [140396399142464] commands.c:2351:SetParameters Card absent or mute
00000005 [140396399142464] prothandler.c:141:PHSetProtocol() Set PTS failed (612)

I suspect the problem to be specific to this card. But I am not sure. That is why I need your help to test with as much possible combinations as possible.

Your help is welcome

 If your have:

  1. a laptop with the AlcorMicro AU9560 smart card reader
  2. a fast enough smart card (i.e. TA1 > 0x95)

then you can help me.

The AlcorMicro AU9560 and the AlcorMicro AU9540 both use the same USB idProduct value of 0x9540 even if the two readers are a bit different. So even if you have a AU9560 the PC/SC name will be "Alcor Micro AU9540 xx yy". If you do not know what reader you have just suppose you have a AU9560.

You can check the 2 conditions above (AlcorMicro and TA1 value) using the pcsc_scan tools. See

$ pcsc_scan 
Using reader plug'n play mechanism
Scanning present readers...
0: Alcor Micro AU9540 00 00
Sat Dec 17 11:02:51 2022
 Reader 0: Alcor Micro AU9540 00 00
  Event number: 0
  Card state: Card inserted, Shared Mode, 
  ATR: 3B DC 96 FF 81 11 FE 80 31 C8 54 43 56 35 07 73 FF A1 C0 3C

ATR: 3B DC 96 FF 81 11 FE 80 31 C8 54 43 56 35 07 73 FF A1 C0 3C
+ TS = 3B --> Direct Convention
+ T0 = DC, Y(1): 1101, K: 12 (historical bytes)
  TA(1) = 96 --> Fi=512, Di=32, 16 cycles/ETU
    250000 bits/s at 4 MHz, fMax for Fi = 5 MHz => 312500 bits/s
  TC(1) = FF --> Extra guard time: 255 (special value)
  TD(1) = 81 --> Y(i+1) = 1000, Protocol T = 1 
  TD(2) = 11 --> Y(i+1) = 0001, Protocol T = 1 
  TA(3) = FE --> IFSC: 254
+ Historical bytes: 80 31 C8 54 43 56 35 07 73 FF A1 C0
+ TCK = 3C (correct checksum) Possibly identified card (using /home/rousseau/.cache/smartcard_list.txt): 3B DC 96 FF 81 11 FE 80 31 C8 54 43 56 35 07 73 FF A1 C0 3C NXP JCOP 4, J3R200P0X3U/0ZA16CP NXD6.2 (JavaCard)

Please do:

  1. download, build and install the patched version of the CCID driver from
  2. test it fixes the problems you had with the previous CCID driver
  3. test it does not create new problems that were not present with the previous CCID driver
  4. if a new problem appears I would like you to report it including:
    1. the exact computer model you use
    2. the name and ATR of the smart card you use
    3. a complete pcscd trace as documented in How to get support
You can report your results using different channels:
  1. on the MUSCLE mailing list
  2. by email to me
  3. by creating a new issue on the CCID project


Your help will greatly improve support of this reader commonly found in laptops.

Thank you.

[Update: Jan, 20th 2023]

The patch is now included in the CCID driver and will be present in the CCID release 1.5.2 (to be released later).

[Update: Jan, 31th 2023]

The CCID driver version 1.5.2 is now available.

Support of the AlcorMicro AU9560 should be better now.

PC/SC sample in TypeScript (Deno)

To continue the list of PC/SC wrappers initiated in 2010 with "PC/SC sample in different languages" I now present a new sample code in Deno a modern runtime for JavaScript and TypeScript.


The wrapper is available at and

The author is Sean Michael Wykes.

The license is MIT.

I used version 0.4.
This version includes the fixes I proposed for GNU/Linux.


From Wikipedia Deno article:

Deno is a runtime for JavaScript, TypeScript, and WebAssembly that is based on the V8 JavaScript engine and the Rust programming language. Deno was co-created by Ryan Dahl, who also created Node.js.

Deno explicitly takes on the role of both runtime and package manager within a single executable, rather than requiring a separate package-management program.


Installation is very easy. First install Deno as documented in

The PC/SC wrapper will be downloaded and installed automatically at run time.

Source code

import {
} from '';

try {
  // establish a PC/SC context
  const context = ContextProvider.establishContext();

  // get all available readers
  const readers = context.listReaders();

  for (const reader of readers) {
    console.log(`Using reader: ${}`);
    if (reader.isMute) {
      console.log(`Reader ${}: MUTE`);
    } else if (reader.isPresent) {
      // connect
      const card = await reader.connect();

      // send Select Applet APDU
      const selectApplet = CommandAPDU
        .from([ISO7816.CLA.ISO, ISO7816.INS.SelectFile, 0x04, 0x00]) // ISO SELECT
        .setData([0xA0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x62, 0x03, 0x01, 0x0C, 0x06, 0x01]);

      const resp = await card.transmitAPDU(selectApplet);

      // check for 0x90 0x00
      if (resp.SW == ISO7816.SW.SUCCESS) {
        // success ..
        console.log(`Reader ${}: applet successfully selected`);

        // send Test APDU
        const command = CommandAPDU
          .from([ISO7816.CLA.ISO, 0, 0, 0]);

        const resp = await card.transmitAPDU(command);
        if (resp.SW == ISO7816.SW.SUCCESS) {
          // success ..
          console.log(`Reader ${}: Test command successful`);

          // convert from bytes to string and display
        } else {
          // something went wrong ..
            `Reader ${}: error SW=${resp.SW.toString(16)}`,
      } else {
        // something went wrong ..
          `Reader ${}: error SW=${resp.SW.toString(16)}`,

      // unpower and disconnect
      await card.disconnect(PCSC.Disposition.UnpowerCard);
    } else {
      console.log(`Reader ${}: NO CARD`);
  // release the PC/SC context
} catch (e: PCSCException) {
  console.log(e, "error");


$ deno run --unstable --allow-ffi blog.ts
Using reader: Gemalto PC Twin Reader (F8345B4A) 00 00
Reader Gemalto PC Twin Reader (F8345B4A) 00 00: applet successfully selected
Reader Gemalto PC Twin Reader (F8345B4A) 00 00: command successful
Hello world!


Nothing special to say. Thanks Sean for the wrapper.

If you work on a Free Software PC/SC wrapper that is not yet in my list please let me know.

Share a smart card reader between a host and its guest VM(s)

As I wrote in "One smart card reader accessible from many computers" it is possible to share a smart card reader between 2 or more systems.



I recently received a bug report about a problem between pcsc-lite and VirtualBox. When the smart card reader is connected to the VM guest then the kernel on the host reports errors like:

2022-11-11T14:25:01.186983-08:00 track pcscd[2474]: 00000001 eventhandler.c:336:EHStatusHandlerThread() Error communicating to: SCM Microsystems Inc. SCR 3310 [CCID Interface] (53311514247933) 00 00 
2022-11-11T14:25:01.186993-08:00 track pcscd[2474]: 00000005 ccid_usb.c:1356:InterruptRead() libusb_submit_transfer failed: LIBUSB_ERROR_IO 
2022-11-11T14:25:01.188050-08:00 track kernel: [ 1247.705353][ T2521] usb 1-2: usbfs: process 2521 (pcscd) did not claim interface 0 before use 
2022-11-11T14:25:01.188053-08:00 track kernel: [ 1247.705386][ T2521] usb 1-2: usbfs: process 2521 (pcscd) did not claim interface 0 before use 
2022-11-11T14:25:01.587034-08:00 track pcscd[2474]: 00400173 ccid_usb.c:865:WriteUSB() write failed (1/2): -1 LIBUSB_ERROR_IO 
2022-11-11T14:25:01.587076-08:00 track pcscd[2474]: 00000008 ifdwrapper.c:364:IFDStatusICC() Card not transacted: 612

And after some times (in days) the host kernel crashes.

A Linux kernel crash is never a good thing. pcsc-lite may be very powerful but it can't crash the Linux kernel. Only a bug in the kernel itself can generate a crash. Here I suspect the VirtualBox Linux kernel module to do something bad.


Instead of connecting the USB smart card reader in the guest VM (and disconnecting it from the host) it is possible to share the smart card reader(s) between the host and guest with some help from pcsc-lite.


My demo setup:

I use 2 very different operating systems, GNU/Linux and NetBSD, on purpose. It is to show it is possible to mix systems. 


In the host, no change to the configuration. But we will redirect (inject) /run/pcscd/pcscd.comm in the virtual machine. 

On the Debian host I run:

$ ssh -N -R/tmp/pcscd.comm:/run/pcscd/pcscd.comm VMNetBSD


On the NetBSD VM I use:

$ export PCSCLITE_CSOCK_NAME=/tmp/pcscd.comm

Then I can run any application using pcsc-lite and get access to the smart card(s) and reader(s) from the host. For example: 

$ pcsc_scan -c
Wed Nov 16 17:26:55 2022 Reader 0: Alcor Micro AU9540 00 00 Event number: 0 Card state: Card inserted, ATR: 3B A7 00 40 18 80 65 A2 08 01 01 52

With a screenshot:


pcsc-lite to pcsc-lite

As I demonstrated the solution is not limited to GNU/Linux. Any Unix system using pcsc-lite can be used. But you must use the same pcsc-lite protocol on both sides.

For example the current protocol version used by pcsc-lite 1.9.9 (current version) is 4.4. It is the same protocol version since pcsc-lite 1.8.24 released in Oct 2018.

macOS or Windows host

It should be technically possible to use Windows or macOS as the host OS. That would involve a new development. Contact me if you need something like that.


No need to disconnect/reconnect the USB reader in the VM. Just share it with the host.

You will be able to use the same smart card at the same time on the two sides. Isn't it nice?

macOS Ventura and smart cards status

Ventura (macOS 13.0) is now available since October, 2022.

I will compare this version to the previous one in Monterey I presented in macOS Monterey and smart cards status


$ grep -A 1 CFBundleShortVersionString /usr/libexec/SmartCardServices/drivers/ifd-ccid.bundle/Contents/Info.plist

The CCID driver has been upgraded from version 1.4.34 as in Monterey to version 1.5.0.

Apple Open Source

The Open Source components included in macOS are listed at
In addition to a .tar.gz archive, the source code is also available in a github (acquired by Microsoft in 2018) repository at
It is then easy to see the patches applied by Apple to the CCID driver:
But the patches have no documentation on the why the patches are needed.
The only obvious patch is ccid-info-plist.patch that changes the value of ifdLogLevel from Info.plist configuration file from 3 (CRITICAL + INFO) to 1 (CRITICAL) in order to generate less logs.
It is also easy to compare two versions. For example the differences between the version for Monterey and the version for Ventura is available as a github diff between tags SmartcardCCID-55028 and SmartcardCCID-55031.

Crypto Token Kit

Nothing special to say. The source code of this part is not available.
My Objective-C sample "PC/SC" sample in Objective-C (synchronous) still builds and works fine.

Security message on first connection

On the first connection of my USB smart card reader I got this dialogue box:
It is nice to see the security improvements.
As expected, I do not get the dialogue box again after I selected "Allow".


No big changes in Ventura for the smart card world.

New version of libccid: 1.5.1

I just released version 1.5.1 of libccid the Free Software CCID class smart card reader driver.


1.5.1 - 14 November 2022, Ludovic Rousseau
  • Add support of
    • Access IS ATR220 with idProduct: 0x0184
    • Alcor Link AK9567
    • Alcor Link AK9572
    • CHERRY SmartTerminal ST-1144
    • CREATOR CRT-603(CZ1) CCR
    • Dexon Tecnologias Digitais LTDA DXToken
    • ESMART Reader ER433x ICC
    • ESMART Reader ER773x Dual & 1S
    • Flight system consulting Incredist
    • Ledger Nano S
    • Ledger Nano S Plus
    • Ledger Nano SP
    • Ledger Nano X
    • SafeNet eToken Fusion
    • Sensyl SSC-NFC Reader
  • Adjust USB drivers path at run-time via environment variable PCSCLITE_HP_DROPDIR
  • add --enable-strict option
  • Fix a problem with AUTO PPS readers and ATR convention inverse cards
  • examples/scardcontrol:
    • add support of 6A xx error codes
    • check WinSCard error early
    • parse wLcdLayout & bEntryValidationCondition
  • macOS: log non sensitive strings as "%{public}s"
  • Some other minor improvements

Updated CCID driver for UEFI

In 2015 (7 years ago) I ported my CCID driver to UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). For example read "UEFI Smart Card Reader Protocol implementation" and "PCSC sample in C for UEFI".

New version

I now updated the driver to use:

The driver is no more a patch for edk2 but an independent UEFI driver in its own repository UEFI-SmartCardReader. It should now be easier to build.

I also updated my samples applications in UEFI-SmartCardReader-Samples.


This driver will not be used by a lot of people. The driver is for applications that are run in the UEFI (i.e. before the main operating system is started) and with a need to access smart cards.

If you use it and want to have new features, or just want to discuss, you can contact me. I am curious to know what people can do with it.

Ubuntu 22.04 and pcscd auto start failure


Since Ubuntu 22.04 LTS there is a problem with PC/SC daemon automatic start. pcscd is supposed to start when an application makes the first PC/SC call. See "pcscd auto start using systemd". In some cases pcscd will not start and SCardEstablishContext() will receive the error SCARD_E_NO_SERVICE.

A ticket is opened at Ubuntu with bug #1971984: pcscd 1.9.5-3 do not start automatically, only manual

The problem is present on some configurations only. I have no idea why on some systems it works fine and on some others we have the problem.

For an unknown reason pcscd.socket is inactive.

$ systemctl status pcscd.socket
○ pcscd.socket - PC/SC Smart Card Daemon Activation Socket
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/pcscd.socket; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: inactive (dead)
   Triggers: ● pcscd.service
     Listen: /run/pcscd/pcscd.comm (Stream)


The fix is easy:

sudo systemctl enable pcscd.socket

And reboot.


No problem on Debian

The same pcscd package has no problem on Debian.

I compared the configuration scripts between the Ubutun and Debian packages and they are the same. I guess the problem comes from systemd or dpkg on Ubuntu and the systemd configuration files are not always installed correctly. Again, no idea why.


The bug is opened since 2022-05-06. I don't know if someone at Ubuntu is working on it.

The pcscd package is in the section Universe (Community-Maintained, Open-Source Software) at Ubuntu. It is not in the section Main (Officially Supported, Open-Source Software) so maybe no engineer from Ubuntu is looking at this issue.

The problem may not be fixed until Ubuntu 24.04, the next LTS version.

PySCard 2.0.5 released

I just released a new version 2.0.5 of pyscard. PySCard is a python module adding smart cards support (PC/SC) to Python.

The PySCard project is available at:

This version is a not even a bug fix release. No code has changed.

The problem is that for the previous version, 2.0.4, I uploaded a incorrect source archive to Pypi. I inadvertently included some generated files in the .tar.gz archive. I discovered the problem while creating the Debian package. I removed the incorrect file from Pypi. But then it is not possible to upload a new file with a name that was already present on Pypi.

The source .tar.gz is already present in the pyscard project on so I thought it was OK.

But then I received bug reports like Missing source release for 2.0.4? or pyscard 2.0.4 not available on linux from pypi so I had to do something.


New version of pcsc-lite: 1.9.9

I just released a new version of pcsc-lite 1.9.9.
pcsc-lite is a Free Software implementation of the PC/SC (or WinSCard) API for Unix systems. 


1.9.9: Ludovic Rousseau
11 September 2022
  • SCardEstablishContext() may return SCARD_W_SECURITY_VIOLATION if refused by Polkit
  • Fix SCardReleaseContext() failure on orphan handles
  • Fix SCardDisconnect() on orphan handle
  • pcsc-spy: log the pioSendPci & pioRecvPci SCardTransmit() parameters
  • Improve the log from pcscd: log the return code in text instead of hex
  • Some other minor improvements

New PyKCS11 1.5.11 available

I just released a new version of PyKCS11, a Python wrapper above the PKCS#11 API.
See "PyKCS11 introduction" or "PyKCS11’s documentation".

The project is registered at Pypi:


1.5.11 - September 2022, Ludovic Rousseau

  • add deriveKey() with CKM_ECDH1_DERIVE and CK_ECDH1_DERIVE_PARAMS
  • support pSourceData in OAEP params
  • remove use of (deprecated) distutils
  • samples: port to Python 3
  • fix code coverage generation