Private Iris

Eye-scanning technology might soon be securing your office systems

Moorestown, NJ and Minneapolis  July 25, 2001  After doing just a short recon of my brain cells, I have counted seven passwords that I have to keep on mental file in order to access everything from my answering machine to my e-mail account. And I have at times forgotten or mistyped one or more of those passwords. I have never, as far as I can remember, misplaced or forgotten my eyes, and that could be a sign that my password-fumbling days (and security worries) might be ending.

Remember all those spy movies where the star has to gain access to some top-secret installation, and as part of that task, he has to pass an iris scan? The star, who looks strangely unmussed, despite having crept through a mile or so of ductwork, looks down into a viewer, a super-cool beam scans his eyes, and a sexy voice says, Access granted. The beam has scanned the network of tiny blood vessels in the iris of the eye, a characteristic more unique and harder to duplicate than a fingerprint, and matched that network with one stored in its memory. (Our intrepid hero has earlier procured an artificial iris or some such gadget in order to get in and defuse the nuclear weapon or freeze ray. Spies can do that. At least in Hollywood.)

Well, that technology isn't that farfetched after all. Iridian Technologies, a biometrics company and self-described exclusive developer of iris recognition technology, and BioconX, a developer of network security software that applies biometrics to fortify network and application security, have announced the signing of a reseller agreement. Under the agreement, BioconX will market and distribute Authenticam and other biometric devices that use Iridian's iris recognition technology, and Iridian Technologies will promote BioconX network security software.

Customers using our software to fortify network security want the flexibility to choose the biometric technology that best fits their environment, says Thor Christensen, president and CEO of BioconX. With this agreement, we can now meet the market's growing demand for iris recognition. Iris recognition means no more passwords, and no more unauthorized entry into your e-mail, database, or other system. Provided Tom Cruise isn't anywhere around, no one can get irked at the new office arrangement and ship a thousand chicken incubators to Ulan Bator, using your digital signature.

To effectively safeguard IT assets, customers seek to deploy biometric solutions with network security software, says Bill Voltmer, president and CEO of Iridian Technologies. BioconX software, together with iris recognition technology, provides a cross-platform, enterprise solution to authenticate user identity and replace passwords with convenience.

According to the two companies, iris recognition is the most accurate, scalable, fast, and non-invasive biometric technology in the world. Using Iridian's Private ID software, iris recognition devices capture images of the eye without bright lights, lasers, or physical contact with the eye, using standard video technology. BioconX software authenticates the identity of users with one-to-many search of centrally stored biometric templates. It  allows users to access all servers, and launch any application, for which they have authorization with one biometric sign-on.

In March 2001, the company released BioconX version 3.0, featuring support of iris recognition technology. BioconX works with all major operating systems and applies biometric security from the network level to applications themselves, without requiring any modification of application code. Wizards in the software guide IT professionals step-by-step through the process of creating users and application groups. BioconX also embeds network administration tools so that IT managers can control their networks and distribute applications as well as manage security.

Now if they can just come up with a way to keep your hair perfect throughout a hectic day, like James Bond does.