The US Department of State will upgrade its current smart card-based network security system with a new version that adds biometric verification to the smart card. Using Precise Biometric’s Match-on-Card™ technology for fingerprint matching and smart cards and software from Datakey, the new system will help secure the access of DoS’ 30,000 badgeholders. It will also alleviate the need for users to remember passwords to gain access to network services.
Datakey Inc. (DKEY.OB; www.datakey.com), a leading provider of information security products that simplify and secure authentication to corporate and government information systems and Precise Biometrics AB, which develops and sells world leading and user-friendly biometric security solutions based on fingerprints, announced today that the US State Department (US DoS) has selected their integrated Match-on-Card biometric authentication solution for the BLADE project. BLADE is the acronym for the Biometrics Logical Access Development and Execution project, an initiative to increase computer network security throughout the US DoS. Datakey expects the BLADE project to contribute revenue in the range of $600,000 to $1.0 million over the next two to three quarters.
The unique demands of the BLADE project called for an innovative approach to the solution. The program requires upgrading the existing system that uses PIN-based smart card authentication, to a new match-on-card fingerprint-based authentication system. Datakey will deliver a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution to seamlessly upgrade the existing 30,000 Smart ID badges and associated client software. The upgrade includes Datakey CIP client software and Model 330 GSC-IS compliant smart cards integrated with Precise Biometrics’ Precise Match-on-Card™ technology for fingerprint matching on smart cards.
Security is a critical concern for the US DoS, which maintains more than 250 posts around the world and employs or supports close to 100,000 American and foreign employees. The security of the Department’s IT infrastructure is especially important, given current events. The goal of the BLADE and PKI initiatives is to implement solid and user-friendly security measures that allow the IT department to continually enhance security while enabling seamless cross agency information sharing. The integration of PKI, Biometrics, and smart cards provides the Department a true global solution. Its support of strong two factor authentication also eliminates the vulnerabilities and administrative burdens of PINs and passwords.
Access is quick and easy – to those who have been granted access to the DoS unclassified network. Users simply insert their unique smart card into a reader, then place a pre-enrolled finger on the fingerprint reader pad to verify their identity, allowing access to network systems. “The Datakey security solution is very simple for the user, yet it provides two-factor authentication” said Chris Schwartzbauer, Datakey’s vice president of sales and business development. “These two factors are the physical identity of the user combined with the smart card-based smart ID badge. Through the combination of biometrics, encryption, and state-of-the-art software, access is simplified as security is increased. The user doesn’t even have to remember a password.”
Smart card technology and Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software developed by Datakey was combined with Precise Biometrics’ Precise Match-on-CardTM technology, which allows the fingerprint matching to take place directly on the smart card. “Biometrics and smart cards combine the best of both technologies. Smart cards are personal, tamper-proof and in widespread use; biometrics makes sure that only an authorized user can access protected data.” said Christer Bergman, president and CEO of Precise Biometrics. “This implementation, which will serve as guidance for other government agencies, is a proof of the strong market acceptance for our Precise Match-on-Card™ technology.”