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Can a Workstation Act as Your 2nd Factor Authenticator?

2nd Factor

When you first read this, you may be scratching your head and wondering how that is even possible? Well my friend, it is possible and is becoming quite popular even!

Now this concept may be way out of left field for you, but the process is simple and surprisingly secure.

For years, costly hard tokens have been the standard for providing 2nd factor authentication. This not only was costly because of the dreaded expiration dates, but also meant you needed to carry an extra piece of hardware around. This is not to say that hard tokens do not have their place in the authentication world, many companies and government agencies still rely on hard tokens to ensure authentication. However, hard tokens were created in the 1980’s, and technology has changed very much since then.

In the 80’s, mobile phones came in a bag and the internet as we know it was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye.

Here is a question for you… Would you still use your bag phone with all of the Android or iPhones available today?

You may think that using a workstation as a 2nd factor authentication solution may sound crazy and unsafe. You are right to question this, but it is only human to question what is new and foreign. Since this falls under both categories, I could see you having your reservations.

Earlier this year PortalGuard released a solution that allows you to authenticate via a registered device. They call this ‘PassiveKey.’ PassiveKey registers your device to recognize your user name and password and grant you access to your accounts as needed. This allows your end-user to ensure their identity via a shared-secret between the device and the server.

This technology is a great way to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks which are very prevalent when a device is on an unsecure network.

So by now, you may be thirsty for more information or still curious how this is possible. PortalGuard knew you would have questions and put together a tech brief to better educate you on the subject.

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Rob Bellefeuille

Author: Rob Bellefeuille

Rob is a Project Manager at PistolStar, Inc. in Bedford, NH. Upon completing his degree in Advertising from Southern New Hampshire University, he gained experience working in marketing in the greater Boston area. His current position has him focusing on bringing authentication solutions to education institutions and retailers worldwide.

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