We’ve grown used to entering passwords on all kinds of things – door locks, ATM machines, telephone banking and etc. Most of these passwords we have memorized. When it comes to the PC, there’s a whole ‘nother world out there.
You’ve got to deal with your logon password, then the password for certain applications, files and even more numerous – web sites. They can be hard to remember and often times not very secure.
Some solutions are biometrics – like iris or finger print scanning. Boston.com is reporting on a possible solution But where’s the alternative? Microsoft is opting for an expensive, muscular approach designed with the help of a leading computer security firm located in Massachusetts. As for the rest of us, there’s a new wave of products that replace passwords with fingerprints. Sony’s Puppy and the Personal Biometric Pod from American Power Conversion Corp. of West Kingston, R.I., will let users access home networks and Internet sites with the touch of a finger.
The Microsoft solution was co-produced by RSA Security Inc. of Bedford. Millions of people use RSA software without knowing it; the company makes the security software used in Web browsers to encrypt credit card data sent to e-commerce sites. RSA also makes a technology called SecurID. In this system, each user of a computer network is given a key chain-size device with a liquid crystal display screen. Every 60 seconds, a random number appears on the screen. An RSA computer connected to the corporate network generates the same number at the same time.
To log into the network, a user types in the number from his SecurID card, along with a memorized PIN number like those used with ATM machines. Even if the card falls into the wrong hands, it’s useless without the correct PIN. “With our solution, you still need a PIN,” said Karl Wirth, a product manager at RSA. But “you can have a much simpler password because you’re supplementing it.”
RSA this week announced that it will offer a version of SecurID that interfaces with Microsoft’s Windows software. This will make it easy to add the SecurID technology to corporate networks full of Windows
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