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Successful Alternatives To Password Authentication? 188

Posted by Cliff
from the seeking-different-ways-to-login dept.
DonaldP asks: "Have any of you successfully deployed a key, token, or biometric-based access control for Windows machines to replace (or enhance) the typical login/logout authentication process (even image-recognition schemes would be considered)? I see different stuff out there but short of actually evaluating each one, it's hard to get a good idea of what the scene is like, what is crap and what actually delivers. Does anyone have experience with such systems, or can suggest other suitable solutions?"
"Some existing solutions (smartcards, etc) have their own quirks. Most notably, they trigger a login, or a logout event (plug it in to log in, remove to log out). Frankly, that just takes too long. Access granting needs to be quick and easy, because it will be frequent (and Fast User Switching doesn't work on machines that are part of a domain, according to Microsoft's docs). The machines I want to deploy on are domain-connected systems, basically serving kiosk roles in a warehouse. Usage is frequent, usage of a system is shared, and access needs to be quick and easy.

A 'Holy Grail' would be something like you see on the point-of-sale terminals in the food industry. Waitrons swipe or wave their card to access the (shared) terminal, quickly punch in or look up what they need, and they're out of there until next time.

The specific technology used (iris scanner, fingerprint scanner, smartcard, keycard, RFID, etc) isn't particularly important. I want to roll out something easier for the floor people to manage than the typical standard username/password authentication method, that provides:

- FAST locking/unlocking the screen (or fast login/logout action).
- Allows multiple 'keys' to be used for one system (many individual users, one computer).
- An event log (or equivalent) to identify which key unlocked/locked the system and when.
- the ability to disable individual keys in the event of loss, theft, etc.

The few products that I have found range from so-so to vapor-seeming. PSL would probably hit all the bases but it looks like vapor. The documentation link isn't there, the FAQ is blank, and the 'Reviews' and 'News' pages are empty. The RF-based one for WirelessDefender seems slick but it doesn't look like the hardware would accommodate multiple users for a single unit."
In addition to recommendations and suggestions, if you've tried biometric authentication and have horror stories of stuff that *didn't* work, feel free to share those too, if you would."
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Successful Alternatives To Password Authentication?

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Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.