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New face for Net security?

Miros rolls out TrueFace Web, a face recognition technology that takes a video of a PC user's face to give secure Internet access.

    Remembering computer passwords may become a thing of the past.

    Miros today began shipping TrueFace Web, a face recognition technology that takes a video of a PC user's face to give secure Internet access. The product is targeted to intranets and extranets that want to limit access to sensitive information by unauthorized people.

    TrueFace Web is the latest in a line of similar products from the company and its first Web-based version. A free demo of the product is available on Miros' Web site. The company's products are based on its patented technology.

    "Within the early adopter marketplace, there is quite a bit of interest in various biometric technologies," said Ted Julian, a security analyst at Forrester Research.

    "But for the rest of the market, they are several steps away from seriously looking at biometric technologies. They've got more pressing problems to solve," Julian added, predicting it would be at least five years before biometrics are widely adopted.

    Biometrics use some characteristics of a person's body in lieu of a password; other biometric products include fingerprint readers, retinal scanners, and voice recognition software.

    Biometric vendors tout cost savings from reduced use of help desk departments, which Julian said get 70 percent to 80 percent of their calls about passwords. "Reduced sign-on calls can have real tangible bottom line impact," he said, noting that smart cards and hardware security tokens have the same benefits.

    "What's likely to determine which kind of biometrics wins will be the cost. With face recognition, it's how quickly do companies adopt the PC cameras, perhaps in other than security applications," Julian said.

    Miros' products work with any video for Windows product, which range in price from $70 to $400. TrueFace Web software is priced from $199 per user for 25 users.

    Miros also markets TrueFace PC for desktop access, TrueFace Network for server access, and TrueFace Access, a complete hardware and software security solution for access to buildings and rooms. Miros biometric technology has been certified by the International Computer Security Association, a private certification firm.