RSA turns everyday gadgets into security tokens

RSA Security, the grand-daddy of the two-factor authentication industry, has announced it is moving into the field of turning everyday gadgets into security tokens.

The announcement is a very interesting one, as RSA says it's already working with Motorola on the mobile phone front, and SanDisk on the memory device side of things.

According to Art Coviello, RSA's chief executive, the company wants to make it easier for people to have some type of strong authentication at their disposal. "The device that you normally carry can now be your token," he explained.

Regular readers of this column will probably recall me wibbling about using a mobile phone as a two-factor authentication. Well, if RSA is working with Motorola, then I'll bet that a Motorola phone that replaces a SecurID device (or similar) can't be too far away.

The really interesting stuff starts when you think about using your mobile as a device that operates as an interactive electronic wallet.

Unlike a smart card, a mobile has the ability to really interact when using it to make a purchase - it can display, for example, your last few transactions, as well as your account balance, on request.

And with Link, the UK ATM switching company, about to launch a mobile phone ATM service - MobileATM - this spring, I think people will start to get used to using their mobile as an access device to their bank account, just like they use their debit card.

As they say - watch this space...