System blends smart-card and biometric access

System blends smart-card and biometric access

Two intelligence agencies are testing a network access system that integrates the biometric and smart-card technologies of three companies.

AC Technology Inc. of Herndon, Va., Cross Match Technologies Inc. of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Sun Microsystems Inc. announced the product, called BiObex, today but would not reveal the federal intelligence agencies that are testing it.

The system incorporates Sun Ray, a smart-card technology developed by Sun for system hopping; AC Technology's Biometric Access Control System, a Java-based enrollment software; and Cross Match's Verifier E, a high-resolution fingerprint scanner.

To access a network equipped with the system, a user must have a smart card and provide one finger for scanning by the biometric reader. The system holds prints of all 10 fingers, but the device will prompt the user on which finger to use for each log-on.

'This removes the need for a second biometric,' said Whitfield Diffie, chief security officer for Sun. At 500- by 500-dot-per-inch resolution, the fingerprint scanner meets FBI standards for forensic quality, he said.

To use the system, a network also must run Sun Ray Server Software 2.0, which Sun released in January, and either Sun Solaris 8 or 9.

Because the product weds biometrics, Unix and Java, 'it could play across all architectures, as well as all platforms,' said Arthur J. Sands, AC Technology's chief operating officer and executive vice president.

The product sells for $1,800 per client, not including the Sun Ray server software.

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