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Retailer issues tokens for staff to access VPN

The Carphone Warehouse is issuing staff with network "tokens" to ensure that only authorised people can access the corporate...

The Carphone Warehouse is issuing staff with network "tokens" to ensure that only authorised people can access the corporate backbone remotely via the company's virtual private network.

Carphone Warehouse, which employs 8,000 staff across 10 countries, needed a secure way to allow employees to remotely access online retail sales and inventory databases, e-mail, and other company data via the VPN.

The company has opted for key fob-style tokens from ActivCard to enable secure remote and mobile access, said Carphone Warehouse network analyst Tatjana Relkovic. It has also installed an ActivCard AAA server to support the Secure Sockets Layer VPN.

Using the tokens, staff can access corporate systems from any company office or store, from home, or from wireless hotspots or internet cafes.

When users attempt to log on, they are asked for a randomly selected password provided by their token. To get this password they have to key their own password into the token itself.

The main advantage of the ActivCard technology is that the tokens do not rely on static network-access passwords, which can be vulnerable to hackers.

The tokens also do not have to be attached to the access device, and users do not need to input passwords into special readers attached to PCs - something that has contributed to the limited uptake of token security devices in the past.

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