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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Cutting edge security technology on show
By Jane Wakefield
Technology reporter, BBC News website

From criminal gangs intend on stealing credit card details to zombie computers, innocently sending out spam and viruses, the world of computer security has hit the headlines in recent times.

The BBC News website has been on the ground at the InfoSecurity Europe conference, walking the miles of stands on your behalf in order, to track down some of the interesting products and companies touting their wares in an effort to counter the bad guys.


BioPassword says the way you type is unique

Two-factor authentication is one of the latest methods of defeating online crime by requiring two parts to attempt to log in to banks or networks.

One of the most common methods is to provide account holders with a security token which has a random generated number - synched with a network - which must be entered alongside traditional user name and password details.

BioPassword's solution is to use keystroke dynamics - utilising the science that analyses how people type on a keyboard.

The firm says it can accurately log - with 99% certainty - how an individual types a password - based on how quickly they move between keys, how long a key is depressed etc.

The US company said it only needs six samples of someone entering a password before they have a unique pattern of their keyboard use.

The company says the fact this can be done without the user having to install specialist software makes it very attractive to online banking.


FingerPIN says it can ensure your security

Increasingly people are using biometrics such as fingerprint or iris scanning to log themselves into corporate networks. FingerPIN, a company that is less than a year old, has added another level of security to such log-ins with its fingerprint sequencing technology.

Users are supplied with a reader which verifies not only their fingerprint but a predefined pattern of several fingerprints.

Those that struggle to remember their mother's maiden name passwords might be concerned that they forget the order of fingerprints they have set themselves but according to managing director Muazam Sarfaraz, the sequence becomes second nature to our in-built "muscle memory".

The reader retails at 20 with the software selling for 49.99. FingerPIN is targeting financial institutions which increasingly need strong authentication. It has also piloted the system with employees and schools in North Lewis council in Scotland.

According to Mr Sarfaraz the system has proved as reliable as an iris scanner and the fact that you can change the sequence makes it the world's first changeable biometric.

He did admit though that an employee who had had an accident chopping onions the night before and came to work with a plaster on their finger would need to go back to their administrator before they could log in.


Yoggie separates your machine from security threats

The Yoggie - the brainchild of Israeli-based Yoggie Security Systems - is being billed as the ultimate laptop bodyguard.

The miniaturised security computer that fits into the palm of your hand packs quite a punch with its 13 tiny security appliances, including anti-spam, anti-phishing, anti-spyware and anti-virus.

When the device is plugged into the USB port of a laptop it physically separates the machine from malware threats.

The battle between such threats is moved to the device itself, freeing up the laptop from the need for any added software, which in turn will improve the performance of the machine.

Since the device went on sale - with a retail price of 113 - at the beginning of the year, it has shifted "thousands" according to the company.

At InfoSec the product - which has already picked up a couple of awards - will go into the Lion's Den, a feature of the show which pits a series of new products against a panel of experts.


BeCrypt puts an encrypted operating system on a memory stick

Staying on the theme of security on the move, BeCrypt has put an encrypted operating system on a memory stick, which is it officially launching at InfoSec.

When inserted onto a computer, the so-called Trusted Client launches a self-contained environment that is entirely separate from its temporary host's operating system.

Its functionality can be configured according to different organisations requirements.

The system is aimed at employees who want to access their organisation's network from insecure machines outside the network.

Other potential markets include universities who may provide such memory sticks to allow students the freedom to work from any network on or off-campus or from public machines.

The fact the operating system is encrypted means that data would not be able to be used if the memory stick was lost.

The software, which can be loaded onto any high street memory stick, retails at 30. It has already been trialled by a UK government department.


Some 30% of net telephony service Skype's customers are business users and increasingly corporations are recognising that their networks are vulnerable to both inbound malware and outbound data leakage.

The fact that communications via Skype fall within electronic communications legislation makes businesses responsible for anything that is sent over the system.

FaceTime is the first security firm to do a deal with Skype, and it is shipping a product that enables businesses to control and monitor the use of Skype within their organisations.

The firm has been providing security software for the main instant messaging players - AOL, MSN and Yahoo for many years.

IM-based threats are on the increase with attacks on such networks running at an average of five incidents per day, according to FaceTime's research labs.

Its new deal with Skype has been causing something of a buzz at InfoSec. As well as business clients, it is also getting interest from the world of education, said marketing manager Sarah Carter.

"Bullying via IM is becoming a problem in schools and we hear that terrorists are using IM to recruit individuals on university campuses," she said.


At a conference such as InfoSec there are always hundreds of security firms vying for attention. All have their merits but one in particular has caught our eye, not least for its boast that it could have detected the TK Maxx fraud, where the detail of 45 million credit cards were compromised.

Tier 3 believes that its reliance on so-called behaviour analysis would have been able to spot what was going on at TK Maxx headquarters.

What sets it apart from other security firms said Chief Technology Officer Geoff Sweeney is that it doesn't rely on a set of pre-defined rules about threats.

Instead it sets out to spot unknown threats by detecting anomalies in the network. So a recent example of data leakage where an employee was attempting to download trade secrets was spotted within an hour because the system spotted the anomalous data flow.

New forensic tools have been added to Version 5 of its Huntsman product suite, which will enable organisations to better track down individuals responsible for such data leakage.

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