Saturday, December 10, 2011

Verizon Lands High-Level Federal Security Certification

Robert Mullins reporting – Verizon Lands High-Level Federal Security Certification:

Verizon has earned "Level 3" certification by the U.S. government for its Universal Identity Services (UIS) identity and access management technology to protect computer networks. Verizon says it is the first identity access provider to reach Level 3 certification.

There are four levels of certification under the federal Identity Credential and Access Management (ICAM) program, Tracy Hulver, chief security strategist for Verizon, explained. The lowest level is Level 1, in which a user identifies him-or-herself as who they say they are and no further identification is needed. Level 2 certification matches the person’s name with some identifying information such as their address or the last four digits of their Social Security Number. Level 3 adds an additional layer of vetting called second-factor authentication.

With Verizon’s UIS product, a user enters their name and perhaps an ID number but then also is given an “online antecedent,” Hulver said, which could be a list of questions the person has to answer in a given amount of time. For example, the person could be shown a list of addresses and be asked which of them is not an address at which they have ever lived. The vetting could include a number of such questions.

“The more questions you answer within the time frame, the higher the level of probability that you are who you say you are,” Hulver said. Level 4 is the highest level of authentication and also requires a third factor such as a smart card with a biometric identifier attached to it; Hulver called Level 4 “the equivalent of a notary certification.”


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