ABS to adopt two-factor authentication

Move will provide secure network authentication infrastructure for its server and workstation environments

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is on the hunt for a two-factor authentication solution to provide an improved secure network authentication infrastructure for its server and workstation environments.

In tender documents, the ABS said implementing a two-factor authentication system at the government agency would enable it to “enforce non-repudiation of ABS employee access”.

“The introduction of a second possessed credential such as a smart card or secure token would greatly reduce the risk of employee impersonation through the requirement of a second physical device,” the documents read.

The current authentication method used internally was not suitable for remote access due to such threats as key loggers that would allow an intruder to impersonate an ABS employee remotely and could easily go undetected, the ABS said.

The solution would need to have support for authentication with a range of SSL VPN devices, the Microsoft Smart Card Minidriver Specification and the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 201 (FIPS 201) standard and DSD Australasian Information Security Evaluation Program (AISEP) certification.

The ABS also indicated it was considering integration of physical building access through inclusion of a proximity module integrated into the physical token.

The ABS said its IT environment currently consisted of 3000 desktops, 500 virtual desktops, 1200 virtual servers, and a server virtualisation rate of around 96 per cent.

VMware vSphere is the platform of choice for the virtual environment, with the server fleet primarily consisting of Windows 2003 and 2008 and desktops running Windows XP and Windows 7.

The ABS currently uses Microsoft Active Directory domain authentication in the internal environment and sequence based one time password tokens in the gateway environment.

Internally staff use Active Directory accounts to access Suse Linux machines and various web portals.

The current physical building access control system is ARES which is a Tecom challenger system using Indala prox cards on Motorola ASR603 27bit card readers.

The printer fleet primarily consists of Sharp AR-M351U and MX-4501N multi function devices.

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Tags two-factor authenticationAustralian Bureau of Statistics

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