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How individual Internet users can secure their online identity, including email, social media accounts, and more in an easy and secure way

Yubico is the leading provider of simple, open online identity protection. The company’s flagship product, the YubiKey®, uniquely combines driverless USB hardware with open source software. More than a million users in 100 countries rely on YubiKey strong two-factor authentication for securing access to computers, mobile devices, networks and online services. Customers range from individual Internet users to e-governments and Fortune 500 companies. Founded in 2007, Yubico is privately held with offices in California, Sweden and UK.

Rake Narang: Why should mobile users be concerned about authentication?

Stina Ehrensvard: The majority of users are today aware that a computer connected to the Internet is vulnerable for malware and online hackers, but do not know that a smart phone or tablet suffers from the same security threats. According to Symantec, several millions of mobile users are likely to be affected by malware that can copy sensitive information accessed from a mobile device, including email, personal payment information, etc. To secure access to the mobile device and applications, security experts do not recommend static passwords or mobile authentication apps, but a separate hardware authentication token.

About Stina Ehrensvard

Rake Narang: What are the main barriers for strong two-factor authentication to scale to the majority of Internet users and applications?

Stina Ehrensvard: Just like the 3-point seat belt did not scale to all cars until the design was so simple it could be managed with only one hand and within seconds, two-factor authentication needs to be managed within a minimum of time and effort for the user. Traditional authentication technologies have been costly to deploy, but this may not be the main barrier if the same identity and authentication token can be re-used across multiple devices and applications. To address this, the world needs a global open identity standard where the range of authentication technologies, on a competitive market, can be re-used across any number of services.

Rake Narang: When will NFC (Near Field Communication) scale to the majority of smart phones and mobile devices and in what way can NFC be used for strong two-factor authentication?

Stina Ehrensvard: Based on conversations with the leading providers of NFC components, the majority of the leading smart phone and mobile device manufactures will include NFC in products released the coming year. An NFC enabled authentication token, such as a NFC smart card or YubiKey NEO, offers a great user experience, enabling users to access mobile application by simply letting the card or token touch the mobile device, optionally combined with entering a PIN or password.

Rake Narang: How can a non-technical individual Internet user secure their online identity, including email, social media accounts, etc., in an easy and secure way?

Stina Ehrensvard: An easy and secure way for individuals to get in control of their online identity and Internet passwords is to use a password manager supporting two-factor authentication, such as Lastpass, PasswordSafe and Passpack. There are today millions of password manager users who have simplified and secured their Internet life by login in with a single password and single strong- authentication token.

Company: Yubico
228 Hamilton Avenue, 3rd Floor, Palo Alto, CA 94301 U.S.A.

Founded in: 2007
Pillar: Stina Ehrensvard
Products and Services: YubiKey
Company’s Goals: Making strong authentication easy and affordable for a billion Internet users.

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