Security, Privacy, and Usability: A High Common Ground

H.K. Lu and A.M. Ali (USA)


Authentication, smart card, prevent identity theft.


In recent years the Internet and its usage have been rapidly expanding. Unfortunately online identity thefts and frauds are on the rise as well. To protect consumers and service providers, many software and hardware solutions are available. However, security and usability factors often pull these solutions in different directions: a very secure solution may not be convenient to use while a usable one may not provide much security. This paper presents a new smart card-based solution, Network Identity Manager (NIM), which provides digital identity management, enables two-factor mutual authentication, and thwarts many identity theft schemes, such as Trojan horse, Phishing, and Pharming. NIM is a plug-and-play USB smart card token that needs no software installation and no administrator privileges, and leaves no residual footprint on the user’s computer. A user interacts with NIM through a standard web browser. The paper describes how NIM works from both technical and user’s perspectives. It also explains how NIM prevents identity theft while still providing user convenience and usability.

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