MasterCard Adopts Intel Two-Factor Authentication

Credit card giant joins Symantec to support Intel's Identity Protection Technology, which bakes security directly into chipsets.

November 15, 2011

2 Min Read
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MasterCard Monday became the latest company to employ Intel's Identity Protection Technology (IPT)--which basically converts a laptop or client device into a second factor of authentication--for online commerce.

Intel this summer began shipping its IPT technology built into its second-generation Core microprocessors, the commercial Core, and Core VPro, and the technology is gaining traction from some big names. In addition to the credit card giant, Symantec supports IPT in its cloud-based VIP service, and Intel says it's also wooing social networks to also adopt IPT for two-factor authentication.

IPT embeds a one-time password token into the chipset, said Jennifer Gilburg, marketing director for the authentication technology unit at Intel. The idea was to embed credentials for better security and usability for end users, she said.

MasterCard will support IPT-enabled client machines, which include Intel's Ultrabook and machines from HP, Lenovo, and Dell that run on the new IPT-based second-generation Core processors. The credit card giant and Intel also will work together as part of the multiyear agreement on PayPass, MasterCard's wireless payment method that doesn't involve swiping magnetic strips on payment cards at the point of sale. Ultimately, consumers could pay online with a tap of their PayPass-enabled smartphones or Ultrabooks, for example, according to the companies.

"MasterCard is constantly working to improve the shopping experience for consumers and merchants," said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard. "The collaboration with Intel will deliver enhanced security and faster checkout--with the convenience of a simple click or tap."

Two-factor authentication has long been lauded as a way to enhance the notoriously vulnerable traditional username and password. While the technology has been deployed in vertical industries, such as online banking, and within sensitive businesses and government computing environments, reliance on hardware-based tokens is relatively expensive and, in some cases, a kludgy approach for mainstream organizations and consumers. Meanwhile, two-factor authentication that employs users' existing technology, especially smartphones, is starting to emerge as a more viable option, especially for cash-strapped consumers.

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