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Secure online transactions worth talking about

Trials of European IST Prize-winning Vocalid? technology, based on crypto-acoustic smart cards that ensure secure, online transactions over any phone or computer, have shown strong support.

Today, there are just two ways to use a card online. Users can connect cards readers to terminals, such as PCs and telephones, or they can transmit card numbers online. Passwords or banking details may also be used for securing miscellaneous online services. IST project iPROVED provides a secure alternative. Its crypto-acoustic smart card Vocalid® transmits dynamic acoustic authentication codes via any telephone or PC, with no need for a dedicated card reader. Cardholders therefore may use their card through any terminal, anywhere and at anytime with the same high level of security. This means that mobility is no longer restrictive in terms of online security. Trials show user satisfaction,The iPROVED Vocalid® cards were sent to 5,000 managers and decision makers in the banking and telecommunications industries in Spain, the UK, France, Belgium, and Germany with a view to obtaining both a professional and consumer point of view. The trials objective was to assess how a Vocalid®-based transactional platform fits into todays online landscape in terms of authentication by phone and PC. A two-part questionnaire followed. Two-thirds of users by phone and over the Internet said that paying by Vocalid® card seemed safer than their current system. For using daily services, the iPROVED platform seemed interesting for 61 per cent. They rated ergonomics user-friendliness as important as security, but between 65 per cent and 71 per cent believed that transmission of card numbers by phone or Internet is risky. More than 65 per cent thought a Vocalid® online payment should be more secure. About 38 to 41 per cent said they would increase their online transactions if iPROVED went global. Overall, we had very positive feedback, says Serge Parienti General Manager of Elva, Boulogne, France and iPROVED project director. iPROVEDs strength lies in the fact that it is a convergent technology. It targets the daily life of the citizen. Today, almost everyone uses a card, whether it is for credit, loyalty or banking. Our added value to this existing device is online security. Crypto-acoustic technology is not new, explains Parienti. What is new and exclusive is the innovative application of the technology based on convergent features. This allows a conventional format card ISO 7816 - to provide strong online security anywhere in the world with any phone fixed line or mobile and any computer with a microphone. The main breakthrough from the users point of view lies in the use of this same card in the physical world, with the usual magnetic stripe or chip readers. This means that Vocalid® technology provides one single card for a global and secure daily life regardless of available terminals. This is the same as enhancing your home key in order for it to open your car too. When connected the user simply inserts the card into a tiny acoustic transmitter. Then, he/she just has to press and the sound sequence is transmitted and authenticated by the iPROVED authentication server, he explains. The dynamic authentication code is a digital sequence consisting of a variable series of digits known as a cryptogram. The cryptogram changes randomly each time the card is used. This is the same as changing a password or number with each transaction. Acoustic transmission means the authentication can be sent without being typed or displayed. Nobody sees any sequence, not even the user. Consumers must be able to interact securely if new online services are going to take off in Europe. Today, hackers can easily make online transactions provided they know a valid card number or password. A Vocalid® cardholder is protected against this because only the card can send the required authentication data to the server. As an added security feature, the user may be asked to input a PIN after authentication. There is nothing to steal. Vocalid®s authentication sequences can never be re-used, says Parienti. This dynamic password is always secure. If the card is lost or stolen, it can be cancelled by calling a number, just like a credit card. Secure online transactions for all card issuers,The iPROVED technology can be used in any card system, providing there is a need for security. The Vocalid® card complies with ISO 7816 standard format and is suitable for all card issuers including:,- Banks and other card issuers payments in stores, withdrawals, electronic purses, online payments and access authentication for e-banking services.,- Telecom operators rechargeable phone cards, unified messaging and value-added voice services.,- Internet retailers access control and customised accounts, payments and loyalty programmes. Trust will increase sales, aided by user-friendly purchasing processes.,- Healthcare medical record access keys, as well as payment for services, drugs and insurance from home or any other location.,- E-learning personalisation of the learning environment requiring security, authentication, accessibility and convenience to handle tutors identity, assessment, reports etc.,- Administration payments in local stores, access to administrative data, online booking of cultural and recreational activities, public services, and electronic signatures.,- Call centres simple, instantaneous caller identification, enhancing processing and productivity.,- Government agencies online municipal services, access to medical records, customised access to online information such as local taxation data and a wide range of services with a user-friendly card that citizens trust. iPROVED goes global,Elva is currently setting up a distribution and licensing policy for software companies, system integrators and value added re-sellers to market Vocalid® technology. This strategy is currently leading to distribution agreements worldwide, including in the United States, Europe and China. The various iPROVED consortium member companies are acting as Elvas distributors, with the right to sell Vocalid® cards across Europe that will be supported by the iPROVED authentication server and global platform. In recognition of these achievements it is one of 20 winners of the European IST Prize 2004. It will be exhibiting Vocalid® technology within iPROVED and various new online environments at the Prize Winners Village at the 2004 IST Event in The Hague in November 2004. Contact:,Serge Parienti,General Manager,Virginie Boutet-Caillé,Sales and marketing support,Elva S.A. ,72 Avenue Edouard Vaillant ,F-92100 Boulogne Billancourt ,France,Tel: +33-141-316677,Email: Source: Based on information from iPROVEDPublished by the IST Results service which gives you online ICT news and analysis on the emerging results from the European Commission's Information Society Technologies research initiative. The service reports on prototype products and services ready for commercialisation as well as work in progress and interim results with significant potential for exploitation,