vb.net barcode scanner tutorial Token Form Factors in Software

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In theory, authentication tokens enable the use of single sign-on (SSO) systems. As the name implies, SSO systems allow users to use an authentication token to sign on once to all applications they require access to. At the moment, true SSO is more or less a theoretical concept. In reality, even systems that use authentication tokens may have reduced sign-on capabilities.
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Authentication tokens come in a variety of physical forms. The size, shape, and materials from which a token is manufactured are referred to collectively as the token s form factor. These parameters affect the durability, portability, security, and convenience of a given type of token. For example, some tokens have electrical contacts mounted on the outer surface of the token s casing. The electrical contacts are connected to an integrated circuit embedded in the token. When an electrostatic discharge of sufficient potential is applied to the contacts, the integrated circuit may be damaged. Because the human body can accumulate a significant static charge in dry weather, care must be taken in the design of such tokens to minimize the risk of damage from static discharges. To compensate for this, some types of tokens have contacts that are recessed in a conductive plastic casing. This type of token is less susceptible to damage from stray static discharges because the casing absorbs the charge before it reaches the contacts. A token s form factor involves trade-offs that must be evaluated for a specific application. Tokens that have recessed contacts usually require a thicker casing than those that have surface-mounted contacts, and that can make it harder to carry the token in a pocket. Customers can sometimes select from a number of different form factors with the same functionality, making it possible to choose the form factor that is best suited to a particular application. Figure 9-2 shows three form factors.
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Noncontact tokens, as their name implies, require no electrical or physical contact with a token reader device. Instead, noncontact tokens usually operate by transmitting data to and receiving data from a terminal, or they require that the user enter data that is then generated by the token.
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Figure 9-2 Cryptographic tokens from (a) Rainbow Technologies, (b) Datakey, and (c) RSA Security (a)
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Noncontact tokens include proximity cards, one-time password generators, and handheld challenge/response calculators.
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Proximity cards are noncontact tokens that use radio frequency signals to authenticate users. Proximity cards contain micro-miniature electronic tuned circuits, a switching mechanism, and a power source. These cards transmit a coded signal either when they come within a certain range of a proximity reader or when someone activates them manually. Some proximity devices are also designed to transmit continually. A user merely
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holds a uniquely coded proximity token or card within a given distance of a proximity reader, and the system reads the data within it. Figure 9-3 shows the XyLoc proximity card and reader from Ensure Technologies.
Figure 9-3 XyLoc proximity card and reader
NOTE:
Theoretically, authentication data (a coded signal in this case) is susceptible to replay attacks. That is, an outsider could conceivably record the signal being transmitted and replay it at a later time to gain access.
One-Time Password Generators
One-time password generators have proven to be one of the most successful types of authentication tokens to date. RSA Security, Inc., has proven this fact through its sales of the ACE/Server and SecurID products. The system has proven to be portable and to provide a very high level of security. Figure 9-4 shows a SecurID token in one of its (a) original form factors and (b) running on the Palm OS. RSA s solution is made up of two components, which work in concert with each other. The ACE/Server is a back-end server application that houses a user s seed record. In turn, this seed is used by the ACE/Server application to produce a random six-digit numeric code on a configurable
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