Vasco uses iPhone, iPod Touch for authenticating users

The promise of fewer devices attracts some CIOs

Vasco Data Security said Thursday it is bringing its Digipass product, which is used for two-factor authentication, to the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The company has developed a version of the application for the Apple devices that can be downloaded for free from the App Store. Vasco's server products are also needed for the system to work.

Digipass for Mobile can be used to authenticate users and sign transactions or documents in areas such as mobile banking, e-banking, e-commerce and enterprise security, according to Vasco. There is also an API (application programming interface) for integrating the system with a company's own applications.

The Digipass log-in process on the Apple products works just like it does on Vasco's stand-alone Digipass security device. When logging on to, for example, an enterprise network, users launch the Vasco application on the iPhone and identify themselves using a PIN code. The application then generates an OTP (One-Time Password) that is used to log in.

Vasco isn't the only security vendor that has added support for the iPhone; Verisign and RSA Security are also offering products.

The idea of using an iPhone instead of a separate OTP generator sounds appealing to some CIOs.

"It's definitely something we're looking at," said Oscar Edholm, CIO at media group Schibsted in Sweden.

One of the advantages is that users don't have to carry two devices, according to Edholm.

But for an iPhone based authentication solution to replace OTP generators there are a number of prerequisites, including assurances from the vendor that the product is as secure, according to Edholm.

Interest in authenticating users with the help of a mobile phone is growing fast, according to Nicolas Fort, product manager for Digipass at Vasco, who points to easy deployment as a big advantage.

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