Many people are?getting down to crunch time this gift-giving season, and it is easy to imagine that in the midst of all?of the legitimate purchases, there will be more than a few that are fraudulent.?
If you are like me, then you like to do as much of your purchasing online as is possible, and you are probably aware that online fraud is rampant. Between the phishing scams and the outright stolen account numbers and passwords, shopping online can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
One of the solutions being bandied around by credit card companies and banks is “Smart Card” technology, where the purchaser uses a credit card with an embedded smart card chip. In order to use this smart card,?the user?must have a compatible smart card reader attached to every computer they use to access?their accounts.
While I like the idea of making it harder for an unauthorized person to use my accounts, I don’t think I want to invest in multiple smart card readers. Fortunately, there is an alternative that uses the same technology…
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According to the Guard ID site, “ID Vault is a USB token which meets the security requirements set forth by Federal Banking regulators for two-factor authentication for online banking sites. Furthermore, unlike Smart Card credit cards, ID Vault offers compatibility with existing computer hardware (no need to buy a smart card reader for every computer you want to use to access your financial accounts). And unlike password generating tokens, ID Vault is compatible with existing financial institutions? web sites (ID Vault works with thousands of US financial institutions).
The underlying technology in ID Vault is a smart card chip. Smart card chips are universally recognized as the most secure way to store sensitive information. The Federal National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has developed comprehensive technical specifications for smart card chips to ensure maximum security. The smart card chip in ID Vault meets or exceeds the NIST ?Security Requirements For Cryptographic Modules? (specification number 140-2).”
When I first read about the ID Vault, I thought it might just be another encrypted USB key that stores passwords and account numbers. Well, it does do that – but there is much more to it…
According to the site, “ID Vault saves the user name, password, and web address for secure sign-in to web services. Web sign-in information is stored in the smart card chip on the ID Vault. Your personal information is not stored on your computer?s hard drive. Furthermore, GuardID Systems never has access to any of your personal information (for this reason, it is critical for users to back-up their ID Vault). ID Vault protects your data and secures your online sign-in information.”
“Every time you use your ID Vaulttm to sign in to a Financial Secure Favorite, the software checks your sign-in request against our database. This real-time cross-check gives you additional protection against sophisticated pharming and phishing hacker attacks.”
ID Vault costs $49.99, and according to the site, it verifies?“over 5000 IP addresses for banks, credit unions and brokerage accounts every day. The daily updating service is free for the first year, after the first year the fee is $19.99 per year.”
I especially liked the line saying “don’t wait for your financial institution to give you a security token (you’re not waiting for your bank to give you a shredder!).” Too true! 😉