Thursday, April 10, 2008

Access control based on Bluetooth technology

Nowadays on the market there are products that offer wireless PC lock solutions - the idea is that you have a small “e-tablet” dongle in your hands and a wireless stick-receiver connected to USB port. It works like a car key. By using your Bluetooth compatible mobile could do the same - just come in and Windows gets logged on - just step out - and it gets locked/hibernated. There are a few products that provide such solution: GoldLantern, FrozenCPU, TrippLite - they are hardware and software in a box.

The products like AccessAngel, BlueGuardian and Rohos Logon Key they are software only that uses Bluetooth technology.

All of them (except Rohos Logon Key) are primitive desktop lockers; it means you start your Windows session by entering your user name and password (or without a password if you don’t have it). The PC Lock program may or may not start up immediately and lock the screen before you've had a few seconds to look at the desktop and do things. Then you can lock your computer by stepping away from your PC (wireless adapter detects absence of Bluetooth device or a wireless dongle). When you come back to your PC it automatically unlocks your desktop. The most PC lockers are compromised by default if you start your Windows in Safe Mode login.

The Rohos Logon Key enables to use wireless devices equipped with BlueTooth for authentication purposes, it means your computer is protected by a password but you don’t need to enter it manually, the program does it by itself. This is more secure and user convenient because having a password protected user account in Windows is a good pattern of data security. Your mobile phone or pocket PC, Palm, Nokia plays the role of your wireless hardware key from your computer. It provides automatic Windows access approaching the computer with mobile phone. Computer will be protected with password, but you don't have to enter it manually, thus making life easier for lazybones J When you step away from computer - Rohos Logon automatically locks the Windows.

Using a generous 15-day trial period I was able to work out how the program works and I’m happy to share about it with you.

How it works: Computer should have BlueTooth adapter (MS, BlueSoleil are supported). The Rohos Logon saves your phone ID wirelessly When the phone is near your computer, the access to it is open: automatic Windows logon or it Windows gets unlocked. Also if you step away from computer, it will automatically be locked within 5-10 seconds.

Here are some tips how to set up mobile or Pocket PC for Windows logon by Rohos:

First step: First, you should install on you computer the Rohos Logon Key In the main window screen open dialog box "Rohos Options" In this dialog box for the type of device used as a USB key choose: BlueTooth Phone/Pocket PC.

Second step: · Install BlueTooth adapter that is compatible with Windows or BlueSoleil. · In the main window screen click "Set up USB flash drive". In the dialog box should appear the name of BlueTooth device that was detected within the radius of coverage. Please note that it takes 10-15 seconds to detect your phone. · In the dialog box enter your Windows login password. If you haven’t used a password so far, it’s time to create one :0) · Press OK, the program now remembers your password and mobile phone ID. · Now you can restart your windows to try new logon way by using mobile phone.

! If you your phone gets unavailable or battery low and thus Bluetooth is OFF you might use usual password or emergency logon (that's offered by Rohos Logon).

Verdict for Rohos: · Better security because of complete password replacement solution. · Supports Windows Vista with a beautiful credential icon on a logon window. · Supports MS Bluetooth stack and BlueSoleil, maybe others in future. · Support USB flash drives, Biometric sticks and corporate USB tokens for authentication. · Also protect computer in Safe Mode. · Announced MAC OS X support.

The point is that wouldn’t it make more sense to use the software solution that daily helps you rather than the ones that do not meet all your needs for easy access and PC security!?

Verdict for Wireless PC lockers such as software + hardware solutions in a box: · They are primitive desktop lockers : · For Windows login you have to enter the password manually anyway. · The cost from 13$ (better no PC lock than such one) up to 141$ (pretty expensive). · Some of them don’t work in Vista.

Verdict for AccessAngel: · Its also a primitive desktop locker implemented in Java, · Requires Java 1.4 RTE , · For Windows login you have to enter the password manually anyway. · No trial version, · Costs 69 euro (private edition) is quiet high for a mere user, · Doesn’t support Windows Vista (though supports 95,98,ME,2000, XP SP1+SP2).

Verdict for BlueGuardian: · Its also desktop locker application with additional features. · For Windows login or Screensaver unlock you have to enter the password manually anyway. · Supports Bluetooth enabled mobile device and USB flash drive as unlock key. · Works only with MS enabled Bluetooth adapters. · Has a guide about how to Install it in Safe Mode so that Safe Mode will be also protected by this program (replaces some system drivers, that is not good, I think).

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