Three-Factors and You're Authenticated

By Eric Griffith

May 07, 2003

Fortress Technologies has upgraded its AirFortress gateway products to allow for a full three points of security - at the server, device, and user levels -- before someone can get on the network.

Fortress Technologies of Oldsmar, Fla., the company behind the AirFortress line of WLAN security products, is still trying to make things more secure. Last week the company announced support for three-factor authentication on its AirFortress Wireless Security Gateway product.

The three factors of authentication covered are at the network, device and user levels.

At the network, or server level, AirFortress segments the network so various departments can have cut off from each other --sales can't use the human resources WLAN for example. To get access, both the client and the gateway must be able to confirm the user's identity.

At the device level, only authorized devices can get access.

"A unique device ID is generated by our architecture [and] can't be spoofed," says Janet Kumpu, Fortress Technologies' COO. "It takes info from the devices and time frame identifiers. It's more robust than using a MAC address." The client system has to be running the AirFortess Secure Client software, which runs on Microsoft Windows, PocketPC, and a variety of barcode scanners from companies like Symbol and Intermec.

Finally, the users themselves must also log in with company provided credentials.

"Our goal is robust security with minimum impact," says Kumpu.

She says that the three-factor authentication can be combined in any way needed -- not all three are required by all enterprises. A person running a barcode scanner can't necessarily log in as an end-user, for example.

AirFortress Gateways have also been upgraded to feature hot failover so that if two or more gateways are in use, once can take over for another during a failure; session time out limits the duration of user sessions; and idle time out bumps off users that leave the secure wireless area.

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