RSA Security has launched a browser toolbar and a hardware token that can electronically sign online transactions. The products are designed to help retailers and financial institutions serve online businesses and consumers.
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Both new products provide a random number at the time of each transaction that users enter as part of establishing their identity. The code they enter must match one that a validation server generates. The process can be used in conjunction with a password or personal identification number for two-factor authentication.
The RSA SecurID Toolbar Token is designed as an easy-to-use system for authenticating consumers and business partners using an organisation's website. Users can download the toolbar and have it added to their Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox browser.
Websites protected by the system, such as online stores, can grant users a ‘seed’ that subsequently will give users a code number every time they return. To send that code to the server, the user simply needs to click a button on the page.
RSA’s SecurID SID900, a hardware device the size of a credit card, can also perform authentication, and be used to electronically sign individual transactions.
Anything that makes online transactions more secure is welcome, provided it is easy to use. Encryption and tokens may sound too much like hard work for many users.