Computer on your key fob

Dallas Semiconductor has announced the release of a wearable Java computer with storage for safekeeping all the technology-based credentials of an individual.

Dallas Semiconductor believe the DS1957B Java-powered iButton on a 2-in-1 Fob serves as both a physical key for touch and go access to buildings and a computer key for logging on to a network securely. Contained within the 16mm steel-encased iButton is a Java computer with a 64 kbyte ROM and 134 kbyte RAM that, according to Dallas Semiconductor, can store over 30 certificates with 1024-bit keys using ISO X.509v3.

In addition, the DS1957B is said to be able to store hundreds of user names and passwords, colour ID picture and application programs of many different service providers.

Personal credentials are cryptographically and physically secure on the steel-armoured chip that is wear-tested for 10 years of durability.

With its memory capabilities, the iButton can have multiple Java applets resident at the same time for applications including access control to buildings and equipment; user profile for rapid internet form filling; digital ID photo and fingerprint biometrics as well as a storage vault for user names and passwords.

Because its memory contents can be revised after issuance as often as desired, future software can be downloaded from the Internet.

If logically attacked, the firewall of the iButton prevents access to the private keys. If physically attacked, the iButton has a tamper response that erases the private key rather than reveal it in order to preserve confidentiality.

‘The Java-powered iButton can be worn on the accessory of choice,’ said Michael Bolan, vice president of product development.

To gain access to buildings or PCs, the user simply touches the iButton to a device called a Blue Dot that transfers information to/from the iButton with a momentary contact.

‘No one wants a pocket full of buttons any more than they want a pocket full of cards. The versatile Java-powered iButton permits revisions after issuance so that this very personal computer can open doors for touch-and-go physical entry, provide strong authentication to log onto a network, sign an electronic document, safely store a list of user names/passwords, keep a copy of an ID photo, and accept updates for the e-commerce transactions of new service providers,’ added Bolan.