GuardID hires PassMark's Jeff Scheel; scores Equifax distribution deal

Source: GuardID

GuardID Systems changed the paradigm of online security with the launch of its ID Vault, empowering consumers to go beyond passwords and manage their own two-factor online authentication system.

Now GuardID has created a partner program for banks, credit unions, brokerages, merchants and other online service providers to leverage the power of the GuardID Trusted Network and to make their customers safe online through the use of the ID Vault. Leading this initiative is Jeff Scheel, former corporate development officer for PassMark Security, who joined GuardID as executive vice president. In his new role, he will drive product strategy and business development initiatives for GuardID with its partners.

"Financial institutions and other e-commerce stakeholders want to prevent identity theft and account takeovers, not just clean up after the damage is done," said Jerry Thompson, CEO of GuardID Systems. "They like our approach because it puts strong smart card-based authentication directly in the hands of the consumer so they can take charge of their own online security. We developed the GuardID Partner Program to give companies different ways to help steer their customers to a safer online experience with the ID Vault and the GuardID Trusted Network."

GuardID offers a range of co-promotion and co-development options in the program. The base partnership level does not require any changes by partners to their own online systems -- ID Vault's built-in security ensures partners' customers arrive at partners' real websites. At the high end of the security spectrum, partners can make small changes to their own login security and achieve two-factor mutual authentication using the customer's ID Vault. The program also offers different affinity marketing relationship options, including co-marketing, endorsement, and resale of GuardID products.

Financial institutions are particularly important to the GuardID Partner Program, because they can use the ID Vault to augment their compliance with the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) mandates for two-factor authentication. An important advantage of ID Vault is that the consumer can use the online security with any number of service providers or accounts, making it more useful to the customer. Organizations using RSA Security's PassMark system or other software-based solutions can add the ID Vault to enhance the portability of those solutions across PCs at work, at home or on the road. Finally, an ID Vault partnership is an easy way for the bank to implement two-factor authentication. Since the ID Vault is marketed directly to consumers, they share in the responsibility and the cost of their own onlinnne security.

"The problem with security is not at the bank's website. It's during the online journey to the bank where ID theft occurs. We challenged the status quo and gave consumers a way to protect themselves during that journey. Now we want to partner with banks and others to make consumers aware of this new option and how it protects them against identity theft," said Thompson.

The risks to online consumers continue to grow. Approximately 109 million U.S. adults received phishing e-mail attacks in 2006, and the average loss per victim was $1,244 per victim, up nearly fivefold from a year ago, according to a new survey announced by Gartner, Inc. in November 2006. Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, believes this is because "thieves seem to be targeting higher-income earners who are also more likely to transact on the Internet," the company reported in a recent news release.

Before PassMark, Scheel was CEO of Vocent, a leader in voice-based security solutions acquired by PassMark. Earlier he held a series of increasingly responsible roles for Siebel Systems, Inc., including vice president and general manager of alliances.

Separately, GuardID Systems today announced it has entered into a co-marketing agreement with Equifax. Under the agreement Equifax will offer ID Vault and the GuardID Trusted Network to its base of Equifax Personal Solutions customers. In addition, GuardID's ID Vault retail package will include a special offer for Equifax Credit Watch(TM), an industry-leading credit monitoring product. ID Vault is the industry's first two-factor authentication solution available directly to consumers.

"Equifax is already the leader in monitoring consumers' credit information to help them protect their identities," said Chris Atwood, vice president of product management for Equifax Personal Solutions. "Those consumers will also benefit from ID Vault, which provides an innovative solution to protect their online financial accounts."

Consumers use the ID Vault to securely store user names and passwords outside of the PC to protect themselves against keyboard loggers, phishing, pharming and other online threats. Based on proven smart card technology, the ID Vault is a removable USB device that plugs into the USB port of any Windows XP or Vista-enabled PC.

ID Vault works with the GuardID Trusted Network -- a network that constantly monitors the security and integrity of Internet addresses for thousands of financial institutions and brokerages. By accessing online service providers through the GuardID Trusted Network, consumers can be confident they are visiting a legitimate site and not a fraudulent copy.

ID Vault is easy to use and portable. It can also be used with any non- financial Web site that requires a sign-in, such as online newspapers, email or other Web destinations. It is available directly to consumers over the Internet and at leading merchants like Comp USA, Circuit City and Best Buy. The suggested retail price is $49.99.

The risks to online consumers addressed by ID Vault continue to grow. Approximately 109 million U.S. adults received phishing e-mail attacks in 2006 according to a new survey announced by Gartner, Inc. in November 2006. Respondents reported an average loss per victim of $1,244, up nearly fivefold from a year ago. In a news release, Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said she believes this is because "thieves seem to be targeting higher-income earners who are also more likely to transact on the Internet."

"Everyone is asking the banks and other online companies to solve these security problems; we're turning that thinking upside down by giving online banking customers a way to protect themselves," said Jeff Scheel, executive vice president of GuardID Systems. "To have a company of the stature of Equifax promote our solution to their customers is a great testimony to the value of our approach."

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