Authentication software specialist CryptoCard introduced an updated version of its network security offering on Aug. 23, adding support for BlackBerry wireless handhelds to its IT systems access platform.
Crypto-Server 6.4 boasts a retrenched architecture that promises to speed authentication input processing, along with improved administrative functions. Other additions to the product include a feature meant to provide client-based “Disconnected Authentication” to ensure a mobile users laptop is protected even when connected to an unfamiliar network and a retooled version of the companys Crypto-Web technology, which is used to protect Web servers.
The most significant aspect of the update, which is designed to integrate authentication privileges across a wide range of devices and software platforms, is the addition of a software token that once downloaded onto a BlackBerry wireless handheld made by Research in Motion enables the device to replace a two-factor authentication hardware token. The software application running on a BlackBerry generates a one-time password (something the user has) that used in combination with a PIN (something the user knows) to positively identify the user when logging into the corporate network from a desktop or laptop via a VPN.
This will enable the BlackBerry to provide stronger network security by acting as a two-factor authentication token. CryptoCard cites the growing use of BlackBerry devices will mean that many users will now be able to benefit from increased two-factor authenticated network security without having to carry a separate device. Organizations will also be able to lower the security cost associated with purchasing authentication tokens.
The company said the growing use of BlackBerry devices will mean that many users will now be able to use a device they already carry to benefit from increased two-factor authenticated network security.
“As the BlackBerry becomes even more prevalent, the information on the device is increasingly critical business data, and a lot of executives dont understand the impact of losing a BlackBerry,” said CryptoCard Chief Executive Jason Hart, in Ottawa. While the software applications used on a BlackBerry typically offer password protection, those systems are often easily defeated, as with laptops, Hart said. “This token will ensure that network passwords are not stored on a BlackBerry to ensure a lost or stolen device does not provide access to the network via a desktop or laptop.”
RIMs BlackBerry system has recently come under attack from critics in the security community who say that many of the companies installing the wireless communications platform do not properly secure their networks. In mid-August, one researcher released a program dubbed BBproxy that claims to demonstrate how malware writers could potentially circumvent security features built into the systems back-end BlackBerry Server software.
For its part, RIM maintains that the protections built into its devices and server software are sufficient, and says it has made a concerted effort to help customers lock down their operations.
“We give users the tools [with which] to tailor devices to suit their security tolerances; administrators have rich controls over applications in terms of what can be loaded and how they talk to the network, even in default,” said Ian Robertson, head of RIMs Security, Research & Response business unit, in Waterloo, Ontario. “We are continually focused on security and on working with the research community to ensure that we deliver secure solutions by offering rich controls and configuration guides.”
Editors Note: This story has been updated to correct the description of the network security functionality that the CryptoCard token affords BlackBerry users.