Bolstering Security With smart cards and tokens

Wednesday, 3 March 2004, 11:56 AM EST

When it comes to security, user names and passwords aren't getting the job done. And the threats are growing. The solution, security vendors say, is to make it more difficult to access business networks and applications, while still keeping procedures easy enough so users don't rise up in protest.

New approaches to more-secure access focus on smart cards and one-time password tokens, which add a second step to logging on to a network and gaining access to applications. Several vendors last week used the RSA Security Conference to introduce those kinds of products, which they say will improve business security. Smart cards are small devices that plug into a computer to help verify the identity of the user. Tokens can provide temporary one-time passwords that a user must key into a PC to gain access. These authentication devices usually are used in conjunction with passwords, but not always.

By George V. Hulme at Security Pipeline.

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