Startup Nok Nok Labs pitches strong new authentication process

By , Network World |  Security, startups

Nok Nok Labs officially opened its doors today to introduce client/server-based technology proposed as an innovative foundation for flexible, strong multi-factor security that can be used in e-commerce, Web services or the enterprise.

Nok Nok's software, expected out next month, is based on a new authentication protocol developed by an industry group known as the Fast IDentity Online Alliance, or FIDO Alliance for short. This group, backed by PayPal, Lenovo and Infineon as well as Nok Nok Labs, has developed what's called the Online Security Transaction Protocol (OSTP) to be able to go beyond simple user passwords and logins to flexibly bring into play a much stronger multi-factor identity check online before allowing certain types of Web access or secure transactions to occur.

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"It's trying to solve the problem of weak authentication," says Phil Dunkelberger, CEO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Nok Nok, whose software product is at heart a browser plug-in and back-end software development kit for a server that supports FIDO's OSTP.

The OSTP client piece, which can be in a browser or chip, works transparently to the user to set up this new method for security authentication when it works in conjunction with the back-end OSTP server component, he points out.

It works by basically combining information gained about the user's device, whether it be computer or mobile, to inventory whether it has the trusted platform module (TPM) chip or webcam or fingerprint device or other biometrics, two-factor authentication software or various other possibilities. It binds all of this selected information through a cryptographic process to create a shared secret between the back-end server and the device. This process is carried out so that e-commerce companies, for example, could automatically shift to higher security multi-factor authentication to verify user identity online in more high-stakes transactions.

The idea, says Dunkelberger, is that users will decide to electively have this higher-level multi-factor authentication used, especially when they become involved in online monetary transactions in e-commerce.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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