I've got two free 'ID Vaults' for the members of ZDNet's audience who....

I've got two free 'ID Vaults' for the members of ZDNet's audience who....

Summary: Two Friday's ago, I announced ZDNet's Deputy Tester of the Week program. The following Monday, in search of our first deputy testers, I offered three free copies of PPTMinimizer 3.


Two Friday's ago, I announced ZDNet's Deputy Tester of the Week program. The following Monday, in search of our first deputy testers, I offered three free copies of PPTMinimizer 3.0 to the members of ZDNet's audience who needed a utility like that for compressing PowerPoint files into more manageable sizes (for whatever reasons). There were over 175 responses to that giveaway (not including some of my own replies to some questions that were asked). This past Friday, I identified three 'entries', the authors of which are each entitled to one copy of PPTMinimzer 3.0. If you are one of the ZDNet audience members that authored those TalkBacks, all you have to do now is let me know via e-mail. Read this for more details.

This week, I'm looking to deputize two of ZDNet's audience members into reviewing the IDVault from GuardID Systems. The street price for IDVault is about $50. As with the three copies of PPTMinimizer, the tech is yours to keep once I send it to you. After first spotting IDVault at a trade show in NYC, I asked company officials if they'd be willing to participate in our Deputy Tester of the Week program and they agreed. Then, I asked them to make their best pitch as to why ZDNet's audience members should take notice. Here's how Greg Marek, the company's vice president of marketing responded:

ID Vault protects you from online identity theft and online fraud when you bank, shop and invest online. ID Vault looks like a USB flash drive, but it’s actually a key that locks access to your online accounts. With ID Vault, you’re protected from phishing, pharming, keystroke logging, Trojan Horses, and other sophisticated online fraud schemes.

Anti-virus and security software may protect your PC, but they don’t protect you when you are most vulnerable—when you conduct financial transactions online. ID Vault constantly monitors more than 7,000 financial Web sites to ensure that you’re logging in to a legitimate site, and not a fraudulent copy designed to steal your identity—and your money. Plus, ID Vault encrypts and stores your usernames and passwords in hardware, where cyber criminals can’t access them. ID Vault logs you into your favorite accounts automatically, without typing. This protects you from keystroke loggers and screen capture malware, as you don’t type in your account credentials for criminals to steal. ID Vault is convenient, too. No more forgotten passwords or scraps of paper with passwords written on them.

GuardID's Web site goes on to describe IDVault as a form of two-factor security. While Marek's pitch seems pretty straightforward, describing IDVault as a form of two-factor security may be a bit of a stretch. In computer security land, experts often discuss three factors of security: what you know, what you have, and who you are. Most Web sites are based on a single factor of security; the what you know part (user ID and password). ATM machines are based on two factors of security; what you know (your PIN) and what you have (your ATM card, otherwise known as a "security token"). The third factor -- the who you are part -- is usually based on some form of biometrics like fingerprint or iris recognition.

For your online accounts to truly be protected by multi-factor security (two or more factors), the providers of those online accounts have to require those multiple factors. In the case of IDVault, it's really more like client-side multi-factor security. If for example, someone somehow manages to get the user ID and password to your online bank account, IDVault's "two-factor security" scheme can't stop them from logging in the way the bank could if it required two or more factors of security (which most US banks don't require... see why). Even so though, IDVault is probably like 1.5 factors of security. That's because of how, when you visit some Web site that requires an ID and password, it will automatically enter your credentials for you. This way, if a keystroke logger was surreptitiously loaded onto your machine, it can't capture the keystrokes that you might normally use to log into your bank account.

In terms of that auto login promise, IDVault reminds me very much of what Trusted Platform Modules were supposed to give us. Unfortunately, TPMs aren't available in every machine. Lenovo's Thinkpads have them as do some Dells (so I've heard). But they're hardly universal. It's a shame because TPMs include an API whereby Web sites (especially finanically-oriented ones like eBay) could interact with them as though they were a universal ATM card (in other words, a single security token that can serve as the what you have factor-of-security for multiple Web sites at the same time). Not only does the Lenovo Thinkpad X60 tablet I'm testing right now have a TPM, it has a fingerprint reader that unlocks its secrets as well. Logging into the X60 requires my thumb. No thumb, no access to the X60. No access to the X60, no access to the Web sites that its TPM will automatically log you into.

In some ways, IDVault is actually more flexibile than a TPM. Like a TPM, it stores the IDs and passwords to the Web sites you frequent. But whereas a TPM is usually soldered to the motherboard of your computer (actually turning your entire computer into the what you have factor of security), IDVault is portable. You can move it from one computer to another since it is USB-based. In other words, you can theoretically take your IDVault with you and use it on other PCs (something I'd love for our Deputy Tester of the Week to try out).

Whereas my thumbprint is required to gain access to the secrets in my Thinkpad's TPM, only a PIN code is required to unlock the secrets stored (and encrypted) in an IDVault. A cool next step for GuardID Systems would be to put a fingerprint reader right on the USB-key, thereby requiring the who you are factor of security to gain access to its encrypted secrets.

One other small caveat to the IDVault; it only works with Windows (according to the Web site, Windows Vista is supported).

To participate in ZDNet's Deputy Tester of the Week program, there are some rules and regulations that you should read (to keep our lawyers happy). Then, using the ZDNet TalkBack facility on this blog entry, make your best pitch as to why I should send one of the two IDVaults I have here in my office to you.

Keep in mind we’re looking for people who are can tell us why they’re the most qualified to test the product in their real world environments. And then, once you receive the product, I’d love to hear back from you regarding your findings. Even if I don’t, you get to keep the product. Finally, if you are "applying" to join ZDNet's posse of deputy testers, be sure to check back on Friday to see whether you've been accepted into the program, or not. So, good luck and let the TalkBacks begin!

Topics: Security, Banking, Browser

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  • Changing my SSN

    I haven't been a victim of identity theft but of domestic violence and I would love to test this as another tool to use to keep my information and me safe. I do everything online, except for the rent check.
  • I'll Test It

    My wife and I do our banking online and she takes care of her HR responsibilites on line also, but, as tech savy as she is, she isn't very tech responsible. I have firewalls and all the name brand Anti/Stay-Outta-My-Business software that is possible in order to keep her from clicking and killing our computer. And as many times as I have shown her, she still can't shut Windows Vista down correctly. I think this device would help ease my nerves with her...online.
  • ID Vaults

    I'd like to give the ID Vault a try because I now work from home and use a single computer for everything. My system runs 24/7 and I can use all the help I can get to protect my data. I have 168 accounts/passwords I need to protect and have access to. On occasion, I work remotely so I'd like to see how well this product works moving from one system to another.
  • ID Vault Tester

    I believe that I would be a good ID Vault tester for the following reasons:

    1. I've been an IT (Information Systems Technician) for the U.S. Navy for the past 17.5 years. I've been to the Network Systems Vulnerability Technician school sponsored by the Navy.

    2. In the job that I do, I am required on a daily basis to access secure/non-secure networks, classified and non-classified information, and work with PII regularly.

    3. I feel that I would be most suited to test this product based on the job that I perform for the DON. I appreciate the opportunity to help out with the testing of this if chosen. Thank you and have a good day.

    Very Respectfully,
    Glenn D. Colvin
    IT1(SW) USN
  • Testing

    I would like to test this in the following scenarios: behind a third-party firewall on a laptop, on a desktop with Windows firewall, on a Linux desktop behind a corporate firewall & proxy, and on in a virtual machine.

    My job is computer security (part of which is training people how to operate securely on the internet) so this would be a nice tool to test out for user education - if it is easy to use.

    Email: mtgarden @t bju * edu
  • ID Vault

    want to find if it is really worthwhile.

    I would love to be one of your testers for the ID VAULT. I pay all of my bills online and lately it's getting pretty scary. You never know who can snag your information and not even know it and lose everything. So I would like to see if it really does protect me and my personal information.

    That's why I think I should be chosen to test the ID VAULT.
  • IDVault

    I am a very capable computer enthusiast with 4 computer builds under my belt and working with many programs for many years. I am very interested in testing the IDVault because I am also very concerned about security. I have had one my home computers which has many users hacked at least once and I believe twice with reinstalls necessary. I think this would be what I need to actually start doing online banking and I would be happy to send my testing results back to you.
  • I would like to try it.

    I work IT for a small country store and have about 8 computers online with multiple accounts. I believe this may be just what I have been looking for.
  • I'd love to try it out

    I'd love ot try this product out. Security isn't as much a concern for myself as for my family. I'm generally very careful with my compuer, as I'm an enthusiast. However, I am one of 5 people in my household, and the other four do not fully comprehend how to keep secure on the internet. Every time I come home from school--I'm currently a college student--there is some problem that needs to be fixed because of lack of proper computer care by my family.

    If this can work for them, I'd be convinced it could work for anyone. However, it is quite possible that I am not the most in need, since they only handle limited amounts of sensitive information via the internet. (Although it may be possible to encourage further activity if the device is secure enough)

    Thanks, and I'd just like to say that TalkBack testing for readers is a great idea.
  • I'm your man!

    As a multiple victim of credit card fraud, I am all too familiar with the need for protection as I am also an avid user of online services and accompanying tools such as account aggregation and password aids such as Roboform.

    IF you can get it to me within a week, I'll also be able to test it while I am overseas which (I am sure) few of your other "deputy testers" will be able to do. This would enable a more "well-rounded" review as well as a more rigorous test because (as you know) most of this fraud originates overseas although I realize that the tester's location makes very little difference in the fraudster's ability to attack.
    • I'd sell it on eBay ...

      and use the money to buy Irish whiskey and maybe some bar snacks. At least I'm honest.
  • ID Vaults

    Without comparing my reasons to others I can tell you I have a wife and son who love to buy online and download products without care.
    Anything that might help even the odds between my PC and the crooks out there would be helpful. I can assure you my report will be in keeping with the excellent journalistic quality of past ZDNet reviews.
  • I'd like to try it.....

    I shop, bank and play many online games, I'd like to see if this, ID Vault, works with all aspects of online security. Like accessing my bank accounts (4) or buying items through my online shopping accounts like EBay or other online stores. I'm a MMORPG Beta game tester and have several online passwords (17) to keep track of and I feel this "ID Vault" would be a time saver and be a great asset to my internet experience. I have several years experience writing reviews, mostly games, and I have several questions about the flexibility of the ID Vault, Like besides being portable is there a limit to how many passwords can you store?
    So, I would be happy to try the ID Vault.

    the fear of getting riped off is the only reason i do not do most of my bussiness online with this i would be willing to try it
  • I would really be interested in this

    The reason that I would be interested in this is because I have alot of passwords and usernames that I sometimes forget. Also, it would be great for my husband to use cause he is always asking me what the passwords and usernames of his accounts are and there are times when I am not home to help him with this.

    Thank you for any consideration in being a deputy tester
  • Perfect for work

    I work for the US Navy and travel internationally. I have lost my usb key in the past (I thought) and went through an extremely anxious night (until I found it in the car seat cushion). I would like to have the piece of mind to not have to worry about lost logins.
  • ID Vault

    I have over 60 passwords, pay all my bills/access my bank accounts/receive money/shop/and play games online. I spend hours on the internet every day, since I'm retired and am mostly housebound due to the inability to walk or stand much. I would love to try this product. Online expenditure of my (not very large) retirement is getting pretty scary.
  • ID Vault

    I probably am an example of an ideal candidate for the ID Vault.

    1. I psy bills using online bill pay from two different banks.
    2. I make stock trade in four brokerage accounts.
    3. I maintain a password list that has over 125 passwords/ID's.
    4. I have been using PC's since the 8086 and 8088 chip days.
    5. I am the go to guy in my group of friends and business associates. They rely on me to advise them on the buying decision.
    6. Lastly and most important "I REALLY WANT ONE" !!!