The many shapes of security

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"Sizing up the PC"

Industry vendors continue to come up with new ways to secure desktop computers, as amply demonstrated at the Comdex trade show last month.

Siemens Biometrics, for example, displayed the ID Mouse Professional, which uses fingerprint sensors to eliminate the need for multiple passwords. The standard software package accommodates 10 fingerprints per user account, and it takes less than 30 seconds to add users.

The ID Mouse, which is already being tested at the Pentagon, works with the various Microsoft Corp. Windows operating systems and soon will work with Linux. It can be used in conjunction with smart cards for added security.

For agencies looking to take a concrete approach to blocking access to PCs, 2C Computing Inc. unveiled the Cstation L1000, which allows a computer chassis to be moved from the desktop to a more secure location without affecting users' work routines.

Instead of connecting to the chassis, the computer monitor and keyboard plug into the Cstation, which measures about 8 inches square, about the size of an Iomega Corp. Zip drive. The Cstation connects to the relocated PC system bus via Category 5 cabling, which is already installed in most facilities.

The Cstation L1000 allows multiple PC chassis to be moved to a data center up to about half a mile away, but the end user doesn't know the difference, said Don Davidson, 2C Computing's executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The company already has had meetings with officials at the Defense Department and the General Services Administration about the technology.

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