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Rainbow Technologies is bringing car immobiliser style security to workstations.

The iKey slots into the USB port and restricts physical and network access to authorised personnel. It must be used in conjunction with a randomly generated four digit pin before a user may log on.

Once on the system, the pin number identifies the user to the server using Internet key exchange standard protocol encryption. This means that even if the authentication process is monitored by alien software, it cannot be duplicated later. It also makes it impossible for hotdeskers to log on using a colleague's ID.

Like car immobilisers, the PC or workstation will shut down if someone tries to use it without the key in place. The company says that the system would be particularly useful for absent-minded civil servants. They've got a point there.

Neil Barrett, technical director of Information Risk Management and all-round security expert, said that the system is a really good idea for laptops.

"Provided you keep the token and the laptop apart, I can see this being extremely useful. I'm not sure the on site stuff is really very realistic though. You'd be far better just passwording your screen if you leave the desktop unattended."

He suspected users wouldn't be bothered crawling under their desk to get at their USB port too often.

The iKey is priced at £29.00. Check out the company's web site for more details. ®

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