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Startup Melds Network, Physical Security In One Device

Mobio's handheld biometric device can be used to access networks, applications, and door and building security systems.

Security startup Cryptolex emerges from stealth mode today with a handheld biometric security offering that can be used to access networks, applications, and door and building security systems.

Dubbed Mobio, the offering consists of a handheld device and back-end server integration between multiple network and physical security systems, which allows it to replace passwords, swipe cards, tokens and PINs, said Clovis Najm, founder of CEO of Cryptolex, based in Owings, Md.

Mobio runs on Cryptolex's proprietary Universal ID System, which weaves together elements of biometrics and cryptography and provides strong authentication for building and door access, network access, and access to VPN and Web applications, according to Najm.

Mobio uses a server API to facilitate its integration into multiple environments, including Windows, Citrix, Linux, Solaris and BSD Unix, Najm said. "It's the back-end infrastructure that enables Mobio to be used in all sectors simultaneously," he added.

Mobio uses an algorithm that converts biometric data from a person's fingerprint into a random number called a biocode. The number can be securely transmitted over a network even if the network itself isn't securebecause it's based on a person's unique biometric data and lasts only for a few seconds, Najm said.

Biocodes also give companies a data trail to log, track and audit access to their network and physical security systems, and they can't be used by another person if they're lost or stolen, Najm added.

Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst at research firm IT-Harvest, says Mobio will be successful if Cryptolex can deliver on the back-end infrastructure integration and overcome companies' fears of putting multiple security functions within a device that can easily be misplaced.

"The key will be overcoming the usage ideas of having a single device and putting so much power into a single token," said Stiennon. "There's been a lot of resistance from users to adopting that, but it's obviously a really great way to include thumbprints with strong authentication."

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