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DEMO '07: Symantec launches online identity initiative

Symantec proposes establishing online credentials for consumers to help keep transactions secure

By , Network World
January 31, 2007 01:45 PM ET

Network World - For complete coverage go to DEMO 07 HQ

Symantec on Wednesday announced the Symantec Identity Initiative, including services and software that leverage the company’s Norton product line to help consumers manage their online identities and facilitate secure transactions over the Internet.

“Our goal is to create a universally accepted identity system across all Web sites -- from online financial institutions to retailers -- for millions of consumers,” said Enrique Salem, group president with Symantec’s consumer business unit. “We have a strong base to build from, with almost half of our active Norton user base already enrolled in a basic Norton Account. We’ll enable our millions of customers to extend the functionality of their Norton Account to manage all their information, all in one place.”

Key to the strategy is the Norton Identity Client, which Symantec demonstrated on stage Wednesday at DEMO '07. The client software gives consumers online credentials, which works like a passport or driver’s license to authenticate the user’s identity and ensure that any transactions done on the Internet are secure, according to company officials.

  The Norton Identity Service, another key component, offers consumers information about the Web sites they interact with, based on data collected from Symantec’s Security Response Labs and other internal research, officials say. This information will rate the reputation and trustworthiness of a Web site, and provide consumers with recommendations regarding what types of information they should disclose to a site.

The service is based on the concept of one-time-use credentials. So if, for example, a consumer is interacting with a Web site for the first time, he or she has the option to let Symantec generate a one-time-use credit card to limit the financial exposure, officials say. The service also can implement parental controls and authenticate an online buyer’s age or membership to a Web site.

The service will work with existing identity exchange protocols, such as CardSpace and OpenID.

Symantec plans to roll out its Identity Initiative over the next 12 to 24 months.

Read more about security in Network World's Security section.

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