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RSA uses SMS to offer secure Web access anywhere

RSA Security is to launch a secure Internet sign-on technology that uses a mobile phone in conjunction with conventional Web site...

RSA Security is to launch a secure Internet sign-on technology that uses a mobile phone in conjunction with conventional Web site access controls.

The system, dubbed RSA Mobile, sends a one-off code to Internet or intranet users via SMS (Short Message Service) after they have logged on to a Web site using their user name and Pin code. The SMS code will allow the user final access to the Web site.

Your Communications, an amalgamation of Norweb Telecom, Intercell and Netforce, has been trialling the technology. Mark Charlesworth, the organisation's product manager, said it has allowed field engineers to access the company intranet remotely without the need for smartcard security.

"As a subsidiary of United Utilities we are finding that other companies in the group are becoming very interested in the system," he said. "It is not as secure as RSA's SecureID cards, but it has the advantage that field engineers do not have to carry anything extra with them."

Gary Barnett, an analyst with Ovum, said, "This is a new spin on RSA's SecureID theme and is quite exciting because it does not require the user to carry anything they normally don't possess. Nor does it require them to download any software. The idea certainly has legs and will appeal to companies that have portals where a basic level of security is not enough.

"The only issue may be areas where mobile phone coverage is weak and providing alternatives for people who do not own a mobile phone."

RSA is charging on a per-user basis and it estimates that the cost for one million users will be about £1.10 per year. RSA said SMS charges can be minimised by negotiating with telecoms companies using the leverage of the quantity of messages that will be used.

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