Beid card reader on FreeBSD

So I’ve got to fill in my taxes, and to do this in Belgium, we need to use our ID card. Well we can use a phone app too, but to use this app we have to register… using our ID card… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Last time I tested, this didn’t work well on FreeBSD, but I didn’t look too much into it and perhaps things changed since then. Also, like always, I refuse to do this on another OS where I know it works, that would be far too easy!

So we should install the PC/SC-Lite architecture to be able to read the cards and the beid middleware so we can use the card. Fortunately, beid is in the ports so we can just install it:

pkg install beid

This will also install pcsc-lite. The package messages tell us that we must:

  • Install drivers for the card reader
  • Hack around devd to let the PC/SC Smart Card daemon recognize it
  • Mount procfs
  • Install the eID Belgium extension if you use Firefox (I’ll also explain how to install it in Chromium)
  • Don’t trust your government

Let’s do just all of that!

Install drivers for the card reader

My card reader is a DunnoWhat-Random-USB-Card-Reader, perhaps devel/libccid should do? For some reason, this is not available in the packages but only via ports:

cd /usr/ports/devel/libccid
make install clean

Does the card reader read cards?

Does it work tho? Let’s find out!

$ usbconfig
ugen0.6: <SCM Microsystems Inc. SCR35xx v2.0 USB SC Reader> at usbus0, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=FULL (12Mbps) pwr=ON (100mA)

So our card reader is on the USB port ugen0.6. We run pcscd to see if it’s detected properly:

$ pcscd --info --color --foreground
00000155 [34366794240] ccid_usb.c:660:OpenUSBByName() Found Vendor/Product: 04E6/5410 (SCM Microsystems Inc. SCR 355)

Sweet, so it appears to be detected and working with CCID. However if I run eid-viewer, it doesn’t work. Looking at pcscd info, it looks like the power up of the card failed:

00000011 [34375102464] ifdhandler.c:1221:IFDHPowerICC() PowerUp failed

Searching a bit over the internet, I’ve found this bug report and it seems that we have to tweak the CCID driver a little.

Edit /usr/local/lib/pcsc/drivers/ifd-ccid.bundle/Contents/Info.plist and search for <key>ifdDriverOptions</key>. By default it is set to 0x0000 which, if you read the description belows, means that it tries to power on the card at 5V, then 1.8V then 3V. But apparently this doesn’t work with my particular card reader. Instead I let the card reader decide, change the value to 0x0030:


Restart pcscd (pcscd --info --color --foreground) and try the card again (eid-viewer). In my case, I can see my card details, so I believe this means that the card reader is working well.

Hack around devd

First, let’s enable pcscd at boot in /etc/rc.conf with pcscd_enable="YES".

Now we need to configure devd as described by the pcsc-lite package message (pkg info -D pcsc-lite). Add this to /etc/devd.conf:

attach 100 {
        device-name "ugen[0-9]+";
        action "/usr/local/sbin/pcscd -H";

detach 100 {
        device-name "ugen[0-9]+";
        action "/usr/local/sbin/pcscd -H";

The -H option is to re-read some configuration files in case of a non-USB reader. You can probably remove them.

Now let’s restart everything we need and check that it still works:

$ service devd restart
$ service pcscd restart

Check that it works with the eid-viewer.

Mount procfs

It’s probable that you already have procfs mounted because it’s needed by a lot of other ports. But if you didn’t, just add this line to /etc/fstab

proc /proc procfs rw,late 0 0

and then just mount procfs.

Install the eID Belgium extension (for Firefox)

If you use Firefox, you are looking for this extension. It should work after you have restarted Firefox.

Get it to work in Chromium

On Chromium there is no extension, instead we work directly with NSS. For beid, the process is straightforward since they provide a script to install the necessary module in NSS. Go in your home directory and start the command beid-update-nssdb. Then restart chromium completely and it should work.

Alternatively you can adapt this post which explains how to manually update nssdb on Ubuntu. You would have to adapt this to FreeBSD and also use this library /usr/local/lib/ instead of libcac.

Don’t trust your government

You do this.

Disable XF86Back/Forward

Real ThinkPad keyboards (not this monstruous ignominy) have directly accessible keys for XF86Back and XF86Forward. That is really problematic with web browsers such as Firefox or Chromium since pressing those keys transparently go back or forward into your history, discarding anything you were typing in the process, including that 3 hours long bug report you were just about to submit. That’s rather annoying, to say the least.

Some other blog post suggest to simply disable them with xmodmap. That is in ~/.xmodmaprc (or whatever it is you use):

keycode 166 = NoSymbol
keycode 167 = NoSymbol

I personally prefer to remap them to Next/Prior keys. Having these near the navigation keys might come up handy:

keycode 166 = Next
keycode 167 = Prior

That’s on Linux though, on FreeBSD the keycodes are 233 and 234:

keycode 233 = Next
keycode 234 = Prior

Anyway use the xev command and xmodmap -pke to find the keycodes and remap them to any other interesting key symbol.

Conntrack table flood

Recently we had problems with our gateway, connections were dropped and so on.
After a bit of investigation we found that it was due to a bugged game using Javascript which, when it ran on Firefox, opened connections in a loop flooding the connection tracking table in a matter of hours. Once found, it was easy to fix. This was also the occasion to tighten the timeouts values of nf_conntrack a little bit. Indeed 5 days timeouts for established connection doesn’t really make sense when your public IPv4 change every 36hours or so.