Security specialist charismathics today announced the iEnigma identity protection application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. iEnigma turns the iPhone into a storage device for users’ digital identities, usable for two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is a security system that uses two factors (eg, a password and a smartcard) for access.
Planned for release on other smartphones later this year, iEnigma turns the users iPhone into a smartcard. When the user needs authenticated access, a digital signature, or email or data encryption, they enter a password into iEnigma, which does the rest. The idea is that it will let businesses employ cheap two-factor authentication by using mobile devices that employees already own.
The iPhone and iPod Touch are among several devices supported by charismathics’ software, including smart cards, USB tokens and biometric devices.
From the release:
“iEnigma turns anyone’s iPhone into a security key,” said charismathics CEO Sven Gossel. “It protects email and other data on people’s iPhones and saves companies money by allowing them to deploy two-factor authentication without the large cost of buying smart card readers and smart cards for every employee.”
What we think?
This is a smart application for a mobile device, but it depends on the company in question having a workforce that has 100% smartphone ownership. I’d say there are few enough of them – and most of them will have decent security measures already in place. In which case, this product must be aimed at small mobile businesses or start-ups, where a tiny staff can be relied on to all have high-end devices. The situation will improve later in the year when support for more smartphones is put in place, but I’m not sure this a better solution than just providing inexpensive chipped smartcards for people.