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SafeGuard® Biometrics Now Available in the UK Following Success of Demonstrations Held at InfoSecurity 2001

Utimaco Safeware, international provider of certified security solutions for IT professionals, today announced the general availability of SafeGuard® Biometrics, a hardware and software security solution which enables users to unlock their smartcards using their own fingerprint rather than having to enter a PIN or password for authentication. SafeGuard® Biometrics, which attracted a great deal of interest during its debut at the recent InfoSecurity 2001 show, is aimed at financial institutions and corporations in general for their internal IT security. The product eliminates the age-old problem of users forgetting or disclosing PINs/passwords. With this solution an authentication system will be able to recognise an authorised user from a combination of their biometric characteristics and a smartcard making system access more convenient and secure.

Utimaco Safeware decided to incorporate biometric technology into its cryptographic and digital signature applications because of the high security associated with fingerprint recognition above traditional methods of authentication. For example, PINs can be forgotten or given away, whereas fingerprints are unique and portable. SafeGuard® Biometrics guarantees a high protection against forgery by measuring and analysing the actual profile of the fingerprint. The biometric template data created from this procedure is then stored directly onto the user’s smartcard rather than in an external database.

Utimaco Safeware developed the product through its partnership with Precise Biometrics AB, a Swedish smart card/fingerprint reader manufacturer and Miotec Oy, a supplier of smart card operating systems in Finland. Utimaco provided the intelligent integration of these devices using its own IT security technology.

SafeGuard® Biometrics consists of a smartcard-/fingerprint reader with an integrated fingerprint sensor and a special smartcard capable of storing biometric data. These smartcards support pioneering Match On Card (MOC) technology, which means that for authentication purposes, the fingerprint of the user is checked directly against the biometric information stored on the card. This method increases security by eliminating the need to store highly confidential fingerprint information within a central database. Authorised individuals can use SafeGuard® Biometrics for a variety of corporate applications including digital signature, encryption and single sign on.

“Biometrics is a major step forward for organisations whose staff either forget their passwords or lend their smartcards plus associated passwords to colleagues, who can then sign documents in their name,” commented Jackie Groves, managing director of Utimaco Safeware UK. She continued, “SafeGuard Biometrics is a secure and convenient authentication system which cuts down the time and effort organisations currently spend on re-authenticating users due to forgotten passwords and so on. The fingerprint cannot be separated from is owner, it can be read with little effort and, when combined with the correct scanning technology, it offers a high-level of security.”

SafeGuard® Biometrics Key Characteristics

·Significant reduction in help-desk costs – Independent estimates suggest that between 25% and 50% of all calls to help-desks are caused by users having forgotten their passwords. This enormous workload can be avoided with SafeGuard® Biometrics.

·Freedom to move around – Integration of user key, biometric data and Match On Card functionality means that the user is not tied to any particular work station but can log on to the system from different locations.

·Phased migration – SafeGuard® Biometrics behaves towards operating systems and applications in exactly the same way as other smartcard-based security systems. It is also possible to use a mixture of the two solutions (smartcards with and without biometrics), thus permitting a smooth, phased migration from conventional password to biometrics.

·Extended functionality – Most biometric applications on the market today focus on authenticating logon procedures and do not provide additional cryptographic functionality. With SafeGuard® Biometrics there is a whole range of IT security applications on offer. The solution complements the other products in the Utimaco Safeware SafeGuard® range and forms an integral part of a complete system environment for encryption, access protection and digital signature.

Pricing and Availability
SafeGuard® Biometrics module is priced starting at £150 per user. Volume pricing is also available.

For further details:
Beky Hughes - 01494 434 434

About Utimaco Safeware
Utimaco Safeware AG is the leading European manufacturer of certified IT security solutions for professional use. Utimaco develops and sells integrated security solutions based on established standards for the following areas: mobile/desktop security and internet security. Utimaco Safeware maintains its website at

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