Technologies Combine for Better Security

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-05-28

An Ottawa company has combined two powerful identification technologies, in theory increasing the confidentiality of information stored online while simultaneously making it easier to get to.

Advanced Information Technologys Affinitex division has developed the VeriMe ID system. It uses a chip encased in a metal "token" that fits in a pocket or is worn around the neck. That chip carries the users fingerprints so that he can get to needed data quickly, without having to remember user names and passwords.

A VeriMe user places a finger on a fingerprint reader on the VeriMe base station, where a computer detects his token via infrared and verifies the fingerprint with the network. The network "challenges" the VeriMe token, which responds by sending a message encoded with its onboard private key. The server authenticates the token by determining if the message matches up with the appropriate public key. If so, the user is granted access.

Once a user walks away from the terminal, a sensor logs him off after a set interval. The system also records anyone else wearing a token who is close enough to read the screen. That, Affinitex executives said, should deter unauthorized personnel from engaging in illicit "shoulder surfing."

Executives are counting on early sales being generated by recently enacted health-care privacy regulations, as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

"Were aiming at the 100 most wired hospitals," AiT CEO Bernie Ashe said. Increasing interest in medical privacy abroad will probably drive sales outside the U.S., he added.

The market is potentially large. Across the U.S., there are 3.5 million nurses and 700,000 doctors, most of whom work in hospitals or medical offices that expose patient data to numerous people. The pricing for the system has not yet been finalized.

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