Earlier this week, I wrote a story about Intel touting the security benefits of its new Sandy Bridge client systems, especially laptops based on the new Core processors.
Most people are by now familiar with the Anti-Theft technology that allows a lost or stolen laptop to be remotely locked, but the Intel Identity Protection Technology (Intel IPT) is perhaps less well known.
Intel IPT effectively embeds the capabilities of a security token, such as those issued by RSA (shown in the picture), into the laptop itself, doing away with the need for companies to issue tokens to all employees.
But if the technology becomes widespread, it will offer online services, especially banks, a way of securely authenticating customers without having to dream up elaborate security systems or issue costly chip-and-PIN terminals to customers, as has been suggested in the past.
Once a user has registered with an online service, their laptop can use Intel IPT to generate a one-time password (OTP) every time they need to access their account. The user typically does not even need to type this in, as you would with a security token.
Because the system uses a OTP to authenticate the user each time, a fraudster cannot break into their account just by tricking them into revealing their credentials, or getting hold of their user name by infecting PCs with malware.
Sadly, this scenario doesn't seem likely to happen because, while Intel IPT is built into every Core vPro system aimed at businesses, it isn't standard across the entire Core platform, which covers the processors and chipsets that find their way into consumer systems.
If Intel really wants to see Intel IPT adopted as a standard for authenticating users online, the company needs to make it standard across all its new systems.
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