Two smart card readers for iOS devices

Two-factor authentication isn’t needed to access most computer systems, but if your organization –or branch of the Canadian armed forces — demands it, it can be a problem using some mobile devices.

BlackBerry has a smart card reader for older handsets running BB7. There are solutions for Android devices.

Two U.S. companies offer smart card readers for most Apple iPads and iPhones. They were recently tested by Joseph Roth for Computerworld U.S.

The units are Thursby Software’s PKard Reader, an Apple-only solution that meets the ISO-7816, CAC/PIV standards for reading smart cards; and Precise Biometrics’ Tactivo, a combined smart card and fingerprint reader with Apple and Android versions.
(Tactivo is a cover that fits around an iPhone or iPad, with the reader at the back)

PK Reader plugs into the slot at the bottom of Apple devices, which Tactivo is shell that fits around devices. There’s a laptop-like fingerprint reader on the front and a card reader on the back.

As the review points out, while the card reader themselves offer solid identification that doesn’t solve all problems. If the secure Web site a user wants to access works with Java or Flash, or isn’t optimized for iOS or the Safari browser, they’re out of luck.

But if your organization needs the most in mobile security, this review could be helpful.

Read the whole story here

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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