Ansys offers device to manage online passwords

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Teddy Daka, CEO of Ansys.

Teddy Daka, CEO of Ansys.

In an effort to help Internet users protect their information, digital technology solutions provider Ansys has unveiled an online password vault and security authentication device.

Developed and designed in SA at Ansys’s design and manufacturing facility, SOLID webKey can generate and store long, unique passwords for every site a user visits, giving owners the best security while only having to remember one master password themselves, says the company.

The device helps Internet users to follow global best practices for protecting online accounts, in a simple-to-use but highly secure manner, it adds.

The device is suitable for consumers, small businesses and enterprises, is priced at R490 and will be available for sale on from 1 November. SOLID webKey can store up to 2 000 passwords, says Teddy Daka, CEO of Ansys.

Much like a software password manager, it helps users to choose and manage strong randomly generated passwords, he notes. However, unlike a conventional password manager, that data is securely stored on a portable hardware device, he adds. “On Web sites that support this, for example Google, Dropbox and Facebook, the device can also be registered as a Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) Security Key.”

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U2F is an open authentication standard that strengthens and simplifies two-factor authentication using specialised USB or near-field communication devices based on similar security technology found in smart cards.

“Research performed on data which has been leaked on the Internet by criminal hackers continually shows the general public struggles with basic account security,” says Daka.

“Year after year, we see that easy to crack passwords such as ‘123456′ or ‘password’ are still in common use, and individuals rely on just one or two memorable passwords or passphrases to protect all their online accounts.”

He points out that security experts recommend the use of long passwords made up of uncommon phrases, and that every account is protected with a unique password. However, when millions of passwords lost in data leaks are analysed, they show the same simple credentials are used over and over again, he adds. If account name and password combinations stolen from one service can be used to access another, the user is in trouble, notes Daka.

One significant challenge is that the best advice isn’t getting through to end-users, he says.

“People use easy to remember passwords because they choose convenience over security. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise. We shouldn’t expect people to remember passwords that are made up of 25 random characters for an account they need to access every day.

“Two-factor authentication is rapidly becoming the norm, and is a proven way to secure accounts. Through SOLID webKey, we hope to make it easier to use and therefore more popular with South Africans who want the best in online security.”

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