[LINK] Cheap solution for security

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue May 26 10:12:58 AEST 2009

Cheap solution for security
Karen Dearne
May 26, 2009
The Australian IT

A Brisbane man has invented a simple, low-cost online authentication 
system that would allow banks to offer one-time passcode security to all 
their customers.

Internet database manager Matthew Walker has won a patent for 
PassWindows, which synchronises a part-pattern printed on a see-through 
card window with the rest of a unique pattern generated on the computer 
screen to display a numeric code.

Online users hold their card against the screen to reveal a randomly 
created six-digit number that securely authenticates their financial 

Mr Walker said PassWindows did the same job as hardware tokens but for 
almost no cost, so banks could offer that level of security to all 
customers, rather than just their high-wealth or business clients.

"Everyone I've run this past says 'yes, technically it works, it's a lot 
better than relying on user passwords and it's infinitely cheaper than 
supplying and supporting electronic devices'," Mr Walker said.

"It's not rocket science, we're simply generating synchronised segments 
to a pattern. For credit cards, it's a good way to replace the CCV 
numbers (printed on the back of cards) often used to verify that the 
user is holding the card."

PassWindows is designed to work with existing card production systems, 
so when a user's card is issued, a unique segment pattern is printed on 
to the clear window and a binary representation of that pattern is added 
to the account database.

Mr Walker's software, a small web-based program, then generates the 
second part of the passcode as an on-screen image.

Since the patent was granted, Mr Walker has entered into an agreement 
with Australian-owned card maker CARDPro, based in China, to produce 
cards with PassWindows.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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