May 2, 2006 10:51 AM PDT

RSA: Microsoft to shelve token support in Vista

Microsoft has shelved plans to include built-in support for RSA Security's tokens in Windows Vista, even though the company has been testing out the authentication technology for almost two years.

In February 2004, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that Windows would be able to support easy integration with RSA's popular SecurID tokens. That meant businesses would find it far easier to deploy a two-factor authentication system for logging on to networks and applications.

However, almost two years after the SecurID beta-testing program kicked off, RSA's chief executive, Art Coviello, disclosed that Windows Vista will not natively support the technology.

"Microsoft had said they would include the ability to support all kinds of One Time Password (OTP) and challenge-response type authentication in Vista. But they were unable to get it in with all the other issues they have had, so it is going to take longer," Coviello said in an interview on Tuesday morning in Sydney.

According to Coviello, sales of SecurID for Windows have "gone slowly" because Microsoft decided not to support the tokens natively in Windows. This meant that deploying a token-based system still required "some work," he said.

"It has gone slowly, and it has gone slowly for a number of reasons," Coviello said. "Microsoft has given us source code so we can replace the Microsoft logon screen. However, it is not yet native to the operating system. So it still requires some work at the desktop, which slows down the adoption rate."

Coviello expects Microsoft to add native support for SecurID in future updates to Vista, after which he hopes demand will increase significantly for two-factor authentication, where people present a second form of identification as well as their password.

"Admittedly, when Vista eventually includes support for onetime passcodes--as is expected in some future point release--people will be more aware generally," he said.

"Right now, we have a competitive advantage, and quite frankly, the adoption rate of our product, SecurID for Windows, is more about inertia in the market than about the technology," he said.

Although Microsoft has been slow to add support for SecurID and other password alternatives, Gates has frequently called on the industry to move away from passwords--including in a speech at this year's RSA Security show.

Vista is expected to include a password management system called InfoCards, which Gates announced at the RSA conference.

Microsoft said Tuesday that it had worked with several vendors and customers on whether to add native support in Vista for one-time passwords, via its Kerberos authentication protocol. RSA's SecurID token generates a different password for each attempt to log on to a service.

"Most customers told Microsoft they do not view one-time passwords as strategic and are looking long term to smart cards as their preferred strong-authentication mechanism," a representative for the software maker said.

The Vista update will let third parties write credential providers to add their authentication tool to the operating system, the representative added.

Munir Kotadia of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney. CNET News.com staff contributed to this report.

See more CNET content tagged:
RSA SecurID, Art Coviello, RSA Security Inc., token, authentication protocol

13 comments

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Vista will be XP with OSX GUI
What is going to be LEFT in Vista when Microsloth eventually gets it out on the street?

They have delayed & stripped down this "new" OS, over & over & over again.

When & IF Jurassic Park dinosaurs get off their NON-evolving bums, Astalavista OS will just be WinXP 2007/2008 with Mac OSX 10.0 GUI.

Give up, retire Gates & Baldy, or die in the tar pits with the other dinosaurs.

" Jurassic Park! Where do you want to go today? Backwards into the past."
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
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VISTA - the Non Upgrade
Same old buggy OS with some new eye candy to make it run slower.

I upgraded already last year, to OSX. Best thing I ever did computerwise.
Posted by miketkrw (86 comments )
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Go troll somewhere else
Your parents are calling you for dinner
Posted by RealisticGuy (7 comments )
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Sure
Why would Microsoft do that? Apple are the only company who take the "Off the shelf" approach to major parts of a proprietary OS. Mac OSX is the only dinosaur OS with its pre-stone age hybrid and generally botched up kernel.

You really should watch less TV/Movies. They seem to have an unnatural effect on you.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
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is this news?
So Microstuffed have taken yet another promised feature out of Vista. No surprise there. The fact that it's a security feature contradicts all the noise they've been making recently about better security in Vista.

With the number of promises made that are never delivered on MS should quit the computer business and go into politics.
Posted by mindpower (47 comments )
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Microsoft like other big corporations get involved with politics
MS may not have MP's or senators but their financially support (donations) many political parties and lobby groups. They have a share of the politicians ear, write draft legislation, compete for major contracts which are often very political (eg. PC's for schools).

Back on topic:
I agree, same MS repeating pattern.
* Next one is going to be better.
* We going to fix all the bugs and make it more secure.
* It will be faster and allows you to be more productive.
* It's going to have great graphics and be easier to use.

In reality:
* Half the problems of the previous version are corrected, 'half finished' apps are improved.
* Half the new features are 'half finished' or dropped from final release.
* The re-writing has created a new way of doing something so that you still need the old files plus twice as much new code. It uses more RAM & virtual memory. More disk IO requests (&twice as many files) just to open a menu.
* It wants to use a wizard or dumb-down the interface in a way that makes many tasks take twice as long to achieve.
* If you use it for real work then the fancy graphics and screensaver are a big waste. When was the last time you sat idle for 20mins waiting for the screensaver and watching it. Smooth scrolling that takes 4x to look down the list/page/menu. I wish they would actually concentrate on what really mattered.
Posted by tygrus (9 comments )
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