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The WiKID Blog

The WiKID Blog, musings on two-factor authentication, information security and some other stuff.

Where to keep the keys?

Lori MacVittie has a great post over Devcentral at F5 about the current state of Identity for Cloud. It is well worth a read.

Authentication isn't strong without encryption

A few days ago, Twilio posted about using their SMS service to "Build a Phone-based Two-Factor Authentication" (sic). As we have noted before, SMS-based systems are technically better than static passwords, but SMS-based authentication schemes seem to be proliferating without any consideration given to their relative security.  Twilio seems like a great service and this post shows how easy it is to use, but I think this post deserves a response, lest developers add insecure code to their application or are left with false impressions about the security of their authentication mechanisms.

Do factors really factor anymore?

In the old days, two-factor authentication was quite simple. It was defined as using more than one of 1. Something you know; 2. Something you have or 3. Something you are. This definition seemed to work well for us for some time. Now, however, it is seriously fraying. Why? Consider this:

Single-site browser

Read Jeremiah Grossman's post about "A Single-Site Browser’s impact on XSS, CSRF, and Clickjacking".  The benefits of using a Single-Site Browser are clear: reduced risk of XSS, CSRF and Clickjacking.  So, why isn't every bank in the world and every user of SSL-VPNs not deploying single-site browsers?

Law firms targeted for client's information

When we first started WiKID, back in the days of Nextel J2ME phones and Mobitex Blackberries, the concept of using a software token on a wireless device faced one crucial issue:  very few companies had broad, company-wide deployments of wireless devices.  We spoke to Bellsouth and Cingular, but met a lot of resistance.  The info sec people there didn't want to risk choosing a start-up with a new two-factor authentication technology.  The other failing effort we made was targeting law firms, where each partner carried a Blackberry.  We made the argument that law firms should adopt two-factor authentication because they would be targeted for their client's information and maintaining security would help keep customers.  At the same time, lawyers needed access to information.  Did they bite? Not so much.

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