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Parasitic Authentication To Protect Your E-Wallet
October 2000 (vol. 33 no. 10)
pp. 54-60

The electronic wallet (e-wallet) has received much attention lately. It promises to consolidate many of the personal items carried around by the modern individual: wallet, phone, pager, diary, and keys. In fact, Nokia's 9001 Communicator already combines the phone, pager, and diary into one unit. The question arises, however, of how to provide user authentication. Traditional protection mechanisms require users to enter a PIN or password every time they wish to perform a transaction. More sophisticated techniques include using a biometric device, such as a fingerprint scanner, which is integrated into the e-wallet. Both of these options have disadvantages. Usability problems due to authentication are a significant barrier to the adoption of e-wallets. In this article, the authors present some uses of existing protocols whereby a concealable, wireless, and portable device can temporarily act as an authentication proxy for the user. The e-wallet then becomes a parasite-feeding off the small device for required authentication and identification information. Parasitic authentication attempts to provide handheld computers with security without reducing convenience.

Tim Ebringer, Peter Thorne, Yuliang Zheng, "Parasitic Authentication To Protect Your E-Wallet," Computer, vol. 33, no. 10, pp. 54-60, Oct. 2000, doi:10.1109/2.876293
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