Privaris Fingerprint Device Provides All-In-One Security - InformationWeek

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Privaris Fingerprint Device Provides All-In-One Security

The device is small enough to fit on a keychain and authenticates users' identities with their fingerprints.

Today's annoying mixture of access cards and multiple passwords often drive employees to do things that would keep security experts up at night. Rather than play by the rules, many employees prefer to bend them in order to simplify their workday.

To prevent bending from becoming breaking, Privaris Inc. is offering what it says is an all-in-one access device that can handle most of a company's needs, from opening doors into secure offices to logging in to computer systems.

PlusID, which is small enough to fit on a keychain, authenticates users' identities with their fingerprints. Using Privaris-supplied software, computers or a building's access-control system can be configured so employees only need to carry the one device to enter offices and login to networks.

"One device can solve all of these problems," Barry W. Johnson, co-founder, president, and chief executive of Privaris, said. "An employee can use (PlusID) to unlock a door, as well as login to a computer."

To avoid having to store employees' fingerprints in a separate database, Privaris stores an image of the unique identifier in the device, which the company claims is tamper proof. Eliminating the need for a central fingerprint repository, which could be hacked, leaving a company liable, is a big selling point for the Charlottesville, Va., company.

"There's tremendous privacy concerns that work against having fingerprints in a central repository," Johnson said.

PlusID can communicate with readers wirelessly via Bluetooth or radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies.

To configure the device to an access-control or computer system, Privaris uses a biometric software interface developed by partner CryptoMetrics Inc. The software works with any close proximity reader, such as those developed by HID Corp., Indala and Kantech, which is owned by Tyco International. Privaris claims adding its security system does not require any major changes to a company's existing infrastructure.

"You can buy our device and leave everything else the same," Johnson said.

In August, Privaris plans to begin shipping the second generation of PlusID, called PlusID75. The upgrade includes a rechargeable battery and the ability to communicate with a computer via a USB cable. In addition, the new devices use a Broadcom Corp. BCM5890 processor that has built-in security for use with contact-less technology.

Depending on features and use, pricing for PlusID ranges from $99 to $149 for quantities of one, which is available for consumers or home-office workers who want to secure their personal computers. Volume discounts are available for corporations.

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