Verisign Powers iPhone Two-Factor Authentication

Verisign says it has a solution for iPhone users worried about identify theft and phishing attacks. The company’s VIP Access for Mobile application is now available for free download at the App Store for the iPhone.

The security app offers two-factor identification designed to strengthen protection on e-commerce site and with other online accounts. As of today’s launch, Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) said it has signed up over 40 Web sites as participating members of its VIP Network, including eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), PayPal and AOL.

With two-factor authentication, data or applications are secured using a pair of protection methods. In this case, Verisign supplements a participating site’s username and password by generating an additional credential on the iPhone. The credential is randomly generated and changes every thirty seconds.

As a result, if someone gains access to your basic log-in information for, say, eBay, they couldn’t access the account without the latest VIP credential code.

“There is something like 200 new applications showing up on the iPhone every day,” said Fran Rosch, senior vice president of product and strategy at VeriSign. “Our whole strategy around authentication is to make it as broad and popular as possible and the iPhone is obviously becoming very popular.”

Rosch told that a beta of the service will soon be available for Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry line of smartphones with others to follow.

“This is sort of like the beginning of the ATM network, we’re building to get to critical mass,” he said, starting with the 40-plus Web sites onboard so far. Rosch said his goal is to have 150 sites signed on as participants by the end of this year. “The idea is to help consumers have better control of their identity online.”

Another company, middleware provider Charismathics, plans to launch its iEnigma identity protection application for the iPhone later in April.

The $9.99 iEnigma identity protection application is designed to turn the iPhone or iPod Touch into the equivalent of a smart card for securing access to a desktop or notebook computer.

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