UPDATE: Keyware to Launch Authentication Toolkit

SAN FRANCISCO (04/14/2000) - NOTE TO EDITORS: This story includes information that was disclosed to the IDG News Service under the condition that it not be made available to the general public until Monday April 17 at 6:00 a.m. EST. We are making this story available internally to the IDG editorial community for your convenience in planning the forthcoming issue of your print publication.

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Biometric security products can't guarantee 100 percent authentication -- nothing can, experts say. But executives at Keyware Technologies Inc. say a toolkit they are releasing Tuesday can tighten precautions a few notches further.

Keyware's LBV (layered biometrics verification) Internet Toolkit will allow software providers to add biometric voice and fingerprint authentication to traditional security applications that protect Internet servers, the company said.

Keyware is targeting system integrators and VARs (value-added resellers) who deal with e-commerce applications requiring high levels of security, Veronique Wittebolle, Keyware executive vice president, said in a telephone interview Thursday. Customers might also include PKI (public-key infrastructure) vendors who want to increase the security of their products, she said.

"Everyone realizes there is not one baseline (technology) that is going to solve everything (needed for complete security)," Wittebolle said. "But biometrics can and does work."

Keyware's LBV software can integrate several biometric identification features into an application, and is compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 and higher and with Microsoft's Information Server, the company said. Pricing begins at US$4,550 for the LVB Internet Toolkit with LVB Server.

One analyst said the layered security levels can provide most value for companies needing high levels of security. "If you are selling $12 million of steel, maybe you want to be really, really secure," Frank Price, senior analyst with Forrester Research Inc., said in a telephone interview. "That's where you may go the extra mile."

One area where the tool kit could be used is for enhancing security for Internet banking. A bank, contracting with an ASP (application service provider), could require biometric verification for a high-value transaction over the Internet.

A vendor seeking to wire money using the Internet would go to the bank's Web page, fill out the required information and submit the transaction. If the transaction is for a high value, the bank would decide it needs biometric verification and automatically send a message to the Keyware LBV server requesting that the vendor speak a passphrase and use the fingerprint scanner.

The LBV server would then verify the passphrase and the fingerprint and notify the bank if the request is accepted or rejected.

No biometric templates leave the Keyware server, keeping them away from possible public access, according to Keyware.

Keyware Technologies, with dual headquarters, can be contacted in Woburn, Massachusetts, at +1-781-933-1311, and in Zaventem, Belgium, at +32-2-721-4574, or at http://www.keyware.com/.

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