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Microsoft, RSA team on security

The two companies create an alliance that will include Microsoft's licensing of RSA Security's identity authentication software.

Microsoft and RSA Security announced on Tuesday an alliance that will include the software giant's licensing of RSA's identity authentication software.

RSA shares were up 58 cents, or 23 percent, to $3.15 in morning trading.

Microsoft plans to integrate a component of RSA's SecurID two-factor authentication software into applications, including upgrades to its Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000, the companies said. SecurID, which helps ensure that only authorized people gain access to a company's network or systems, requires people to identify themselves using two unique factors, such as a password and a digital certificate.

In addition, RSA has developed SecurID software for Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002 operating system for handheld computers. This means that Pocket PC-based devices themselves can authenticate a person's identity, eliminating the need for a person to use separate hardware, such as a PC or a smart card, to gain access to a network.

The SecurID software for Pocket PC is available as a free download from RSA.

Also on Tuesday, RSA announced a deal with iRevolution to create two-factor authentication so that people with mobile devices can add another layer of security when they sign into a site that uses Microsoft's Passport authentication software.

The new software will essentially let people with cell phones or other mobile devices double up on security by adding RSA's Mobile authentication software on top of Passport. The Mobile software generates one-time access codes when people log in and delivers them immediately to mobile phones, pagers, PDAs or e-mail accounts. People then enter their Passport login name and password followed by the one-time access code. iRevolution, a software services company, will act as third-party host of the combined applications and will manage additional credentials.