New security products get up close and very personal

New security products get up close and very personal

BY CARLOS A. SOTO | GCN STAFF

The security emphasis at the recent Comdex trade show was on new types of software and services for managing heterogeneous security structures.

Keyware Technologies Inc. of Woburn, Mass., demonstrated a management backbone called the Enterprise Security System. Keyware claims it will work with everything from smart cards to fingerprint authentication devices to public-key infrastructures.

ESS starts at the point of entry'a building, floor or room. It can manage smart cards, fingerprints, voice recognition, face recognition or a combination of them. Client systems are secured by smart cards or biometrics.

ESS continues on to network security via the Layer Biometric Server, which stores all user properties for identification and verification.

Application and data access

Identification, Keyware officials said, is analogous to the police describing a suspect; verification is the police determining exactly who that person is.

The Keyware Enterprise Security System also oversees application access and data access. Application access controls services such as telephones or copy machines, activated by smart cards. Data access oversees transmission and acceptance of secure data via, for example, PKI.

BioNetrix System Corp. of Vienna, Va., and Ethentica Inc. of Lake Forest, Calif., also showed enterprise security management models.

The BioNetrix Authentication Suite, sold on the General Services Administration schedule, is geared specifically to centralized security based on the communication paths in use'Hypertext Transfer Protocol, Wireless Access Protocol and so on. The management software also has the capability to centralize biometric recognition. BioNetrix provides training in suite administration.

Ethentica makes a biometric fingerprint sensor used in two products, the $200 Ethenticator MS 3000 PC Card and the $99 ergonomic Universal Serial Bus Ethenticator 2500 for PCs.

The company's TactileSense sensor technology is a hybrid of silicon and optical chips. It has three layers: a durable polymer layer on top of a thin liquid crystal display on top of a tiny silicon chip.

The LCD layer creates a light image from the fingertip's natural electricity. The light image is digitized by the silicon chip and sent to the Ethentica software to identify and verify.

Sensor devices that place a fragile silicon chip on top to scan and digitize fingerprints are prone to damage. Ethentica's arrangement protects the silicon and theoretically improves durability of the device.

Two new types of biometric technology that rolled out at Comdex were BioPassword from Net Nanny Software International of Toronto and BioID from Dialog Communication Systems of Raleigh, N.C.

BioPassword log-on software doesn't replace ordinary user names or passwords; it creates an electronic typing signature. While a user enrolls, BioPassword records the keystroke rhythm as an electronic identifier.

I tried several times and failed to get around BioPassword security using the name and password of the Net Nanny representative. Licensing costs $20 to $90 per seat depending on volume.

The $50 BioID software for PC and portable systems uses a standard desktop camera with microphone to record a template of the user's voice, face and lip movements. To log on, the user simply stands in front of the camera and states his or her name.

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