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Is USB solution key to your security?

Online consumers wary of phishing, keyboard logging, bots and identity theft can now take control of their own network security with the Gemalto Network Identity Manager (NIM). This self-contained, portable, network security solution plugs into a USB port, works with a standard browser, runs on any PC and does not require any software installations or downloads.

An onboard network computer and Internet software create a PIN-protected digital safety zone, impervious to malware lurking in the PC or on the Internet. Yet, it is simple and intuitive for anyone to use. In addition, the NIM supports the VeriSign Identity Protection (VIP) Network, so consumers can use Gemalto’s latest innovation with many different online businesses such as Northern Trust, Charles Schwab, PayPal, eBay and Yahoo!

“The NIM is a convenience breakthrough of the first order, and it is supported by Gemalto’s 15 years of experience in digital security solutions worldwide,” said Cedric Collomb, senior vice president, Network Identity Solutions, Gemalto. “For the first time smart card-class security can be deployed to mass consumer markets without significant support costs and complexity.”

"Consumers are already struggling with multiple screen logins, challenge/response, one-time-passwords and other security measures when conducting online transactions," said Sally Hudson, a research director at IDC. "In addition to contributing to user confusion and overall inconvenience, some of these approaches still leave gaps in security. A single form factor that allows consumers to securely ‘plug and play’ should prove appealing to a wide range of technology adopters."

“Our goal is to continue to provide best of breed, layered security solutions that protect consumers’ identities online,” said Fran Rosch, vice president, Authentication Services for VeriSign. “The VIP Network is an important part of our consumer security initiatives and we’re pleased to expand our partnership with Gemalto in utilizing VIP credentials embedded securely on the NIM device across websites participating in the VIP Network.”

This completely new Gemalto digital security product achieves a number of industry firsts. It is the first ‘zero-infrastructure’ smart card type of device—no special readers, drivers, downloads or software installation are required—so it can be used easily on any PC.

The NIM is also the first portable online security solution that is completely self-contained with its own Internet software and hardware. It only uses the host PC as a launching pad, so Trojans and other hostile software hiding in wait are made irrelevant. It verifies websites are authentic, removing the guesswork of sniffing out a fake site from the consumer. And it establishes an encrypted, mutually authenticated browser session directly with the desired online business. The result is a unique and direct connection, a sort of “sealed tunnel” that provides an end-to-end digital security solution that protects consumers against identity theft and account hijacking.

Finally, it is the first portable security device based completely on existing Internet standards like TLS/SSL. This means Web service providers do not have to make major changes to support the Gemalto NIM. For issuers, it means no software or public key infrastructure to develop, buy and distribute for clients. Minimal IT and customer support on the help desk is required, resulting in lower operational costs and complexity.

Gemalto’s primary target market for NIM is online consumer transactions. Gemalto will work with leading organizations with large online communities who will issue NIM devices to their customers. Evaluation samples are available immediately. VeriSign VIP-enabled NIMs will be useable directly with any website that supports the VeriSign network.

“Online attacks like phishing will continue to increase because it’s still a lucrative business for the perpetrators,” said Avivah Litan, vice president, Gartner Inc. “Service providers must find solutions that balance security and consumer convenience. Out-of-band solutions like the Gemalto NIM offer the greatest security because without the PIN-protected device, no one can access the account.“

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.