Security with bite: 15 technologies tested

Summary:In this special review, we round up the various authentication devices on the market. From fingerprint scanners, to single sign-on software and biometric technology -- we have the authentication market covered.

Authentication vs authorisation
Passwords and token devices
Single sign-on
Smartcards/Proximity Cards
Smartcards (cont.)
Biometrics (cont.)
Digital Certificates/Signatures
Notebook with fingerprint scanner
About RMIT

One-time passwords and token devices
One-time passwords are a good and relatively low-cost alternative. Like the name suggests, the passwords are used once only and if the same password is used again at a later stage in a login attempt then the subject is rejected.

The tokens are small devices that are synchronised with the authentication server system to issue the user with a password when a button is pressed on the device.

One-time passwords are an excellent choice if one is concerned about keyloggers or spyware infections that may be collecting data from compromised machines. Another benefit to one-time passwords is they can stop identity fraud occurring within the organisation.

Vasco Data Security shipped us a copy of its Radius server middleware and one of its token devices. Vasco has managed to include two-factor authentication with the tokens by having the user input a static PIN first, such as 1234 (something they will know) and then the one-time password supplied by the token (something that they have). Using this, the login would look like 1234 (code on the token). There are also options to interface with Web-based logons, Citrix, Lotus/Domino, Windows, and Novell. RSA, Verisign, and Giesecke & Devrient also supply one-time password generating token devices.

Vendor LM Gemplus
Phone 03 9583 7744
Technology Tokens and smart cards
Model "Gemsafe" products
Price Cards from AU$5.50, Readers from AU$60.50, Software pricing
variable depending on application and site requirement.
Mainly revolving around smart card technologies, Gemsafe products offer a wide range of interoperability with many card varieties.
While quite “heavy” on the software side of things (100MB+) the systems are quite scalable.
Reasonably priced particularly when considering the peace of mind and security a well designed and deployed smart card solution provides the enterprise.
12-month warranty -- adequate seeing as the low cost of individual components in this solution.

Vendor Vasco Data Security
Phone 02 8920 9633
Technology Tokens & RADIUS software
Model Go 3
Price AU$1452 for 10 tokens, maintenance and RADIUS software


Very good interoperability, support for RADIUS as well as Web-based logons, Citrix, Lotus/Domino, Windows and Novell.

A one-time password is a more secure authentication method than users writing down passwords on sticky notes or having login credentials and passwords picked up by spyware.
One of the cheaper forms of more secure authentication.
2 years standard, up to 5 years contract is a very good service level.

Topics: Security, Enterprise Software, Hardware

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