America Online has launched an online service offering consumers secure two-factor authentication.
The world's largest ISP has selected hardware from RSA Security to power its AOL PassCode premium offering. The service offers members a second level of AOL account protection through the use of a RSA keychain-sized device that generates and displays a unique six-digit numeric code every 60 seconds.
"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 US consumers and their service providers," said Avivah Litan, vice president and research director at Gartner.
The service is like adding a deadbolt to AOL accounts by automatically creating a new secondary password every 60 seconds, said Ned Brody, AOL's senior vice president for Premium Services.
"Many of our members use their accounts for business purposes, financial transactions or other sensitive activities. AOL PassCode offers a higher standard of protection through the same state-of-the-art two-factor authentication system used by many financial institutions, technology companies, and other major businesses.
"We're proud to be the first online service to offer this extraordinary supplementary level of security protection to our users."
AOL members using PassCode must enter both their normal account password and the current code from their PassCode device 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 is offering PassCode as a premium service to AOL members for a one-time cost of $9.95 for each device plus an additional $1.95 - $4.95 per month, depending on the number of screen names on the account that are secured to an AOL PassCode device.