The Aladdin eToken is a small, lightweight, attractive USB device, about the size of a physical key, which can generate and store user credentials such as private keys, passwords and digital certificates within its own protected chip environment.

The eToken simply plugs in to a convenient USB port on your system. When connected, a red LED shines through the semi-translucent body of the key to remind you of its presence.

This must surely be the most convenient way of using a portable token for PC/LAN connectivity, especially now that many corporate PCs and workstations incorporate forward facing USB ports. It is also highly intuitive, with the physical key analogy soon taking root.

The eToken is available in R2 and Pro formats, the former featuring 120-bit DES-X two-factor authentication and the latter 1024-bit RSA smartcard supporting DES, triple-DES, SHA-1 and MD5 (optional).

Potential applications are numerous and varied, but for many will probably center around the provision of web related services or workstation and LAN access.

For corporations whose intranet plays a large part in day-to-day operations, the use of such a token would be very pertinent, as would it be for remote access across VPNs, secure email communications and a host of other situations where personal identity verification and data encryption are considered valuable.

From a systems administration perspective, having established a secure environment and attendant processes, migrating this thinking to the average user via the eToken may, with a little training and back up, be less onerous than with other methodologies, due to the neatness and practicality of the token itself.

Compatibility is comprehensive, with a broad range of network security clients supported and PKI/certificate support for Microsoft, Entrust, Verisign, DST, Baltimore, RSA Keon and others.

The software modules supplied for test seemed a little fragmented and could have perhaps been unified into a single 'control center,' although they worked well enough on the Windows 2000 box used for testing.

Overall, the Aladdin eToken product offers a flexible approach to security, coupled to an intuitive user experience.