VeriSign Takes on Passport with VIP

VeriSign on Monday announced it was joining the federated identity market, offering up a new solution for Web sites to authenticate users and joining forces with eBay, PayPal and Yahoo. The service will challenge established standards such as Passport and the Liberty Alliance Project backed by Sun.

VeriSign Identity Protection, or VIP, will initially be implemented PayPal and across Yahoo's Web properties. Later this year, SanDisk will launch USB devices with built-in VIP passwords, much like RSA's popular SecurID product. PayPal plans to offer the devices to customers as an added protection mechanism.

According to VeriSign, the Federal Trade Commission found that 37 percent of all Internet Fraud complaints filed dealt with identity theft. VIP is intended to help that problem, the company says, and is based on open standards defined by OATH, an industry-wide working group for authentication.

Motorola is also supporting the effort, encouraging its customers to utilize VIP in order to protect their online identities. Although, the phone and device maker did not say how it plans to implement the technology.

"VeriSign Identity Protection will provide a new means to protect consumer identities, combining multi-factor authentication, a shared network of information and intelligence and actionable fraud monitoring. With our partners, the VIP service will provide end-users with easy-to-purchase and easy-to-deploy multi-factor authentication," said Judy Lin, executive vice president of VeriSign Security Services.

OATH, or Initiative for Open AuTHentication, is one of many groups pushing for standards in the identity space. The Liberty Alliance is a consortium of over 150 companies and another chief participant in the industry is OASIS, which plays host to both OASIS Security Service (SAML) and the XRI Data Interchange (XDI) technical committees.

VeriSign expects to begin rolling out VIP authentication services, including a Fraud Intelligence Network, starting this summer.

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