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Strong, simple authentication and signing
The e-commerce revolution has begun and there is no turning back. Yet for all its convenience and efficiency, online commerce both commercial and consumer is not expanding at the rate predicted.
Certainly current economic conditions are contributing to slow growth but that is a cyclical issue. The systemic issue is the lack of strong authentication and signing for e-business transactions. The ability to securely transact business online and transfer funds globally across banking borders is dependent on securely authenticating participants and digitally signing transactions.
Until recently the prescribed method for strong authentication was a smart card. For good reason, smart cards employ PKI digital certificates_ the standard for digital authentication and signatures. They strongly protect the user's private key with hardware. In short, smart cards are an excellent deterrent to fraud, providing very strong authentication and digital signing.
However, certain characteristics of smart cards simply do not support the needs of today's business environment. These include:
A. Lack of ubiquity end-users are severely limited by the need to access to card readers
B. Difficult to deploy especially for wireless devices such as PDAs or mobile phones
C. Costly to administer and support requires manual deployment and re-deployment of lost or broken cards. Reader installation requires customer call support
D. Expensive not cost-effective for large, distributed user communities
These limitations of smart cards will only become more acute as e-commerce continues to expand globally and user demand for mobility and flexibility expand with it. The challenge is to address the problem with a solution that makes business sense reducing fraud without introducing undue friction in the business transaction.
It is a universal problem and it requires a universal solution a solution that can be easily and inexpensively deployed, is simple to use and doesn't require investment in a new hardware infrastructure. Arcot believes what is needed is a software or virtual smart card, one that has all the desirable characteristics of the physical smart card - strong authentication and digital signing in a tamper proof container - but one that can be distributed and shared electronically across devices and throughout Web, VPN, and wireless environments.
The Virtual Smart Card
The result of this effort is the ArcotID digital credential, which is the core of the WebFort product for strong authentication and signing for non-repudiation. WebFort addresses all the limitations of a smart card approach. The ArcotID can be distributed and ported across devices and throughout Web, VPN, and wireless environments. Users are strongly authenticated without fear of compromise through a simple ATM-like (bank card) user interface where the user's PIN is never stored and known only to the end user. The WebFort solution combines the security and strength of a physical smart card with the ease of use and administration of username / password.
"Since the invention
of public key cryptography twenty-five years ago, people have been struggling
to secure the private key without the assistance of hardware. Arcot's innovative
Cryptographic Camouflage has solved this problem. Finally there is a cost-effective
and convenient means to strongly authenticate users and transactions over the
Internet without the need for cumbersome hardware."
Today, the ArcotID and WebFort are used in a broad range of industries and applications including healthcare, financial services, and enterprise applications such as supply chain management.
Arcot and Visa
The Visa requirement was to develop an online authentication process with the same protection against fraud as the physical "card-present" world, but with a minimum of impact on the merchant and cardholder. In the Visa approach, the merchant requests the issuing bank to verify the cardholder's identity at the time of transaction. Authentication occurs during the course of the purchase with virtually no change to the customer checkout process or the merchant's transaction and order processing. TransFort is the first software solution available on the market for the global Visa Authenticated Payment Program and includes both bank and merchant software components to enable a secure transaction.
Arcot TransFort for Payment
Arcot and MasterCard
Arcot and Identrus
Arcot has addressed a major issue in the interoperability of Identrus authentication with its universal Signing Interface (SIR), developed specifically for its Identrus-compliant version of WebFort. The SIR recognizes the ArcotID tamper-proof container (containing identity keys and utility keys from any certificate authority) as well as physical smart cards (from any manufacturer). In this way, Arcot does not favor one authentication method over another and allows the bank or institution to determine the best method or methods for its needs.
Arcot and Swift
Complete Security for
Integrated Best of Breed
A. Scalable - software-only solution easily scales to millions of users / transactions
B. Secure - hardware-class protection with digital signatures for non-repudiation
C. Easy - software deployment and support with low overhead administration
D. Simple - very user friendly ATM (bank card) interface
E. Flexible - multi-platform (Internet, VPN, wireless)
Each of the Arcot solutions offers the same strategic advantages of scalability, strong protection, ease of use and administration and each is a best of breed solution by itself. Together they can create powerful security infrastructures. WebFort integrated with AccessFort delivers hardware-strength single sign-on with transactional performance and scalability. Combining strong, simple authentication with high-performance access control will prove critical in providing trusted payment and financial services for the future.
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