AOL Shows Safe Chat Rooms

America Online is showing a "safe chat room" for children and teenagers that uses so-called "multifactor authentication" technology from VeriSign to verify a child's age.

Equipped with secure tokens that plug into computer USB outlets, kids will be able to securely access AOL chat rooms without fear of being preyed upon online criminals, according to a statement from VeriSign.

VeriSign says it will work with AOL and i-SAFE America, a nonprofit organization, to promote the use of secure tokens in schools and other venues frequented by the young.

As part of the demonstration, VeriSign is integrating its Unified Authentication service with AOL's infrastructure to allow kids to log on using a secure token, in addition to a user name and password. The extra "factor," such as a USB device containing a unique digital certificate, gives the kids access to special token-secured chat rooms that would not be accessible to those without the tokens, according to Judy Lin, executive vice president of VeriSign's Security Services.

"It's a very neat concept and something we think there may be some interest in among parents," says Andrew Weinstein, an AOL spokesperson.

However, AOL is only exploring the secure chat room idea, and other applications for multi-factor authentication and has no immediate plans to launch it as a service, he says.

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News source: PC World

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