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Verisign and its disposable passwords

May 3, 2007

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VeriSign wants to make disposable passwords easier for consumers to remember by placing some of its technology in any regular credit card, debit or ATM card.

Vice president for authentication services at VeriSign Fran Rosch said the one-time passwords haven't taken off in the United States, simply because consumers need to carry a small device that generates passwords rapidly.

However, Rosch said that barrier is removed by having the technology built into cards consumers already carry anyway. Yesterday, VeriSign was largely expected to announce a deal with Innovative Card Technologies to outfit financial institutions, banks and eCommerce Web sites with cards that work with VeriSign's password system.

With Verisign's new cards, Internet users login to an online bank account and simply type in their regular username and password, along with a six-digit security code that appears on the card's display window.

That security code constantly changes, meaning the customer needs to have possession of the card at all times to be able to access his or her account.

For many years now, various Internet security companies like VeriSign and EMC's RSA Security have been promoting one-time passwords and other two-tier authentication systems to combat phishing and other scams aimed at tricking users into revealing sensitive data like passwords.

By requiring a second security code that is tied to a device or a card in the user's possession, an online account remains protected even if the regular password is compromised in any way.

If a customer loses his card, someone would still need to know the username and password to log on, and this is where Verisign has an advantage over some of its competitors.

Financial institutions, banks and various merchants participating in VeriSign's password network can all share codes, so consumers wouldn't have to carry multiple cards and devices or even one of each.

VeriSign added that it expects to announce a major U.S. bank using its cards this month, and those would be fully compatible with services currently using the devices.

VeriSign already has agreements with eBay, PayPal, Yahoo and Charles Schwab to issue password-generating devices that use its secure technology.

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Source: eCommerce Times



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