America Online and RSA Security Inc. are launching the AOL PassCode, a new premium service that offers members a second level of AOL account protection through the use of a keychain-sized device that generates and displays a unique six-digit numeric code every 60 seconds.
AOL PassCode offers a higher standard of protection for members through the same RSA SecurID two-factor authentication system already used by businesses worldwide. AOL members using PassCode must enter their normal account password and the current device code in order to access their account.
"The emergence of new and more pervasive online threats and an increase in what consumers can and want to do are requiring better ways to protect personal information online," said Art Coviello, President and Chief Executive Officer at RSA Security. "AOL PassCode is a powerful, yet simple tool that helps ensure an AOL account, and the information in it, is being protected by one of the world's strongest authentication technologies. RSA Security leads the market in strong two-factor authentication, and we're pleased to work with AOL to extend that leadership into online consumer identity protection."
To log into an AOL account, users are prompted for both their normal password and the token code generated by the PassCode device
Based on RSA Security's patented authentication technology, the device generates a simple, six-digit code that changes every 60 seconds.
The result is a unique, one-time-use PassCode that is used to positively identify, or authenticate, the user. If the code is validated by the system, the user is granted access to their AOL account. If it is not recognized, the user is denied access. "The AOL PassCode Service Offering is a historical event in e-commerce and will pave the way for much needed and more widespread two-factor authentication among U.S. consumers and their service providers," said Avivah Litan, vice president and research director at Gartner, a provider of research and analysis on the global IT industry. "AOL is ahead of its peers in realizing that consumers are willing to pay for additional security, and utilizing RSA Security's practical, proven technology is a logical choice."
AOL is offering AOL PassCode as a premium service to AOL members for a one-time cost of US$9.95 for each device plus an additional US$1.95 - US$4.95 per month, depending on the number of screen names on the account that are secured to an AOL PassCode device.