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Information outlaws under attack

20 May 2005

Information outlaws under attack

Information outlaws and criminals attempting to cash in on the surge in Internet trading are about to have their work made a whole lot harder by an Auckland company which is developing technology to thwart illegal activity.

Instead of remembering passwords and personal identification numbers for credit card and Internet banking transactions, Mega AS Consulting Ltd has developed a system that provides distinct and exclusive access codes which change almost the second you’ve used them.

The new Internet security system is simple, fast and low cost. It relies on a mobile device, such as cellular phone, pocket PC or palm, being used as a computer to generate a password rather than a communications tool, remaining effective even when normal cellular coverage is unavailable. It is easy to use and works from home or abroad.

“Relying on passwords alone is steadily dying and archaic,” says Mega AS Consulting Chief Executive, Arnnei Spieser.

“Hackers are regularly targeting small users who don’t understand the vulnerable nature of Internet transactions. They’re stealing passwords, gaining access to small amounts of money and then transferring it immediately to overseas bank accounts to avoid detection.

“In just one day these hackers can steal huge amounts of money,” he says.

The company’s Cellular Authentication Token (CAT) is a low cost two factor authentication (TFA) and one time password (OTP) solution for secure access to remote servers via the Internet. It downloads the Cellular Authentication Token (CAT) software, just like downloading a game. Once activated, it generates a unique OTP for each new login session.

Technology New Zealand has invested in Mega AS’s research and development, assisting the company to develop a product the company says has world wide potential because it differs from anything else on the international market.

The Mega AS product primarily manages and controls access and Mr Spieser says it has future potential to replace pin or code numbers for building entry. Instead of keying in a code, the user will be given a unique number that ceases to exist the minute it is used, preventing anyone else copying it to gain illegal entry. The same unique CAT system could eventually be integrated into car alarm systems that use PIN numbers to protect against thieves.

Mega AS is organising a New Zealand conference on Internet security to be held in Auckland in August involving a range of New Zealand and Australian companies that provide Internet security solutions will display and demonstrate their products. It is targeted at businesses relying on secure Internet access for customers, such as banks. The Minister of Information Technology, David Cunliffe, is scheduled to open the conference.


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