A new iPhone / Touch application by Verisign hit the App Store today, designed to increase online security by strengthening the composition of passwords on participating sites.
The application, dubbed VIP Access for Mobile, operates in a different way than most password programs, which simply remember passwords. Verisign’s new app actually makes your passwords almost impossible to crack. It creates a one-time password credential to be used in addition to the username and password on heavily trafficked sites like eBay, AOL, and PayPal. More sites are expected to be added later.
There are more than 40 total sites that are part of the VIP Network right now. VIP Access users can use their VIP credentials at any site that has a VeriSign Identity Protection logo, according to an Infoworld story. Users just have to register their credentials at each member site. The app will be available for free in the App Store today. All costs are borne by the participating Web sites.
The VIP Access offers the user a two-tiered authentication process that protects their online identity. The application creates a “credential” to be used at login along with the standard username and password to which the user is accustomed. This credential changes each time the user logs into a participating site and only the handset owner has access to the the credential information.
This procedure provides an extra barrier to anyone attempting to gain access to your accounts. Generating the credential takes just seconds and each credential code can only be used once, similar to the one-time pad used countless times in spy novels and films. Users must activate the application using their iPhone or Touch and then register their new VIP credential at participating sites before the app is ready to use. Then they refer to the app on their iPhone for the one-time credential for each login.
Anyone trying to hack into your account would have to know your normal login name and password, and would have to be in possession of your iPhone, in order to get into your account. This extra layer of security should provide additional peace of mind for users that perform many financial transactions on sites like PayPal and eBay. Of course, you also need to exercise good physical security by keeping close watch on your iPhone.