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Thread: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

  1. #1
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    Default Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Anyone implemented 2 factor authentication for use with A5? I am looking to secure with PhoneFactor or similar.

    This provides out of band authentication without the need for hardware tokens (uses phone/text message) and is FREE for up to 25 users.

    This would allow remote application users (mobile phones w/o static ip) to access the application and insure identity.

    I assume that with the upcoming IIS integration this would be easy since PhoneFactor support Active Directory but I would rather not use the AD since WAS is on dedicated Windows Server 2008 r2. No other access to this server is needed for users. I am simply trying to secure with 2 factor authentication.

    Brad

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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    I fully support your idea, in fact I have requested it as a feature a few months ago in Alpha's Ideascale so maybe you can vote for it:http://alphasoftware.ideascale.com/a...on/27069-14754

    I think moving to the cloud really needs 2-factor authentication just like Google now offers for it's Gmail service: it gives you the kind of confidence you need to put your stuff out there in the cloud.
    Frank

    Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Frank:

    I just posted on IdeaScale link you provided above. Hopefully we can stir up some more support for this critical step towards making A5 secure with mobile devices.

    Brad

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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Great! I was not aware of PhoneFactor; looks interesting!
    Frank

    Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Frank:

    I started looking at PhoneFactor 10 months ago - prior to v11 and recently the large hospital network which my wifes work (doing home health nursing) began using PhoneFactor for ALL users when not connected directly to the local network. This hospital uses Citrix and has digital certs on the individual computers and still found it necessary for the users to use 2 factor authentication. Before using PhoneFactor they were using RSA hardware tokens for the past few years. The other nurses seem to like this new approach and the costs of the tokens and maintenance has been eliminated.

    Brad

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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    I just took a look at this - I think that this is going to be important as well... any word on what phonefactor charges for the service? I've GOT to think that it's got some sort of web interface that Alpha would hit on login... This should not be _that_ hard to accomplish.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Jeff:

    PhoneFactor is FREE for 25 users or less - no setup / no credit card / no licensing issues etc. I am currently using it to secure the VPS server Remote Desktop since the server is in a datacenter. It has being working very well. It should be noted that you do not provide any information other than user name and phone number - no user passwords outside our own servers. Getting ready to implement RADIUS server to authenticate users to my linux (CentOS) servers in the near future - all for FREE.

    If someone wants to use other 2 factor authentication systems (ie hardware tokens, other phone based systems) the solution I am seeking should work for them as well.

    Brad

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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    I get that it's free for 25 users or less. But there's NO such thing as a free lunch! And there's always the odd chance that I may have to go above the magic number of 25. I'd like to know how deep the kim chee is.... NOT asking these kinds of questions has landed me in errr... ummm... _excrement_ before.... so I tend to ask up front!

    (grin)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Jeff:

    I understand your cost concern. The vendor I was considering (PhoneFactor) will quote on individual basis - I have not seen any pricing online. The more fundamental concern for A5 is implementation in the security framework of a 2 factor authentication system as an option. This would allow developers to use any number of third party systems or even write their own if desired.

    My goal is to find an efficient way to implement the authentication whether it be PhoneFactor or something else.

    Brad

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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    OK - So let me see if I understand this stuff right....

    Once a user has logged in to the A5 security, there needs to be a second "hook". The login code needs to be able to send out a generic "function call" that will return once the user has been validated via PhoneFactor or [insert service here]. If a positive result is received, then they are authenticated, otherwise they are out o' luck.

    I haven't yet taken a look at the PhoneFactor SDK, but I can't see this as being too difficult to implement... but I _may_ be missing something...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Actually I think I DO see the problem... I don't see any On_Login type of events that are exposed by the login component in alpha. And that means that the "hooks" aren't available to us. So if we wanted to do this, we'd have to do a new login component from scratch....

    Any Alpha guys with more experience have any thoughts on this?? Very interesting. Thanks, Brad

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Jeff:

    Your understanding is correct. I have started looking at the PhoneFactor SDK to add java code in A5. I hoping that Alpha would consider adding direct SAML support or similar which would allow developers to choose the authentication provider without hard coding for any specific provider. I am trying to avoid the costs/licensing issues that the calendar module has been plagued with (see other posts to experience the problems first hand). I want a method to plugin the provider of choice with the next result being 2 factor authentication.

    Brad

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Yep - I've seen the calendar festivities first hand. I'll look into it as well. Anybody else that finds this interesting - now's a good time to pipe up!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    ... above the magic number of 25. I'd like to know how deep ...
    On a product roundup page on SC Magazine.com the price for PhoneFactor is listed as $10-$25/user.

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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Beside phonefactor there are options that are cheaper :



    1. Build a second login page directly after the primary A5 login and let the user type there PIN# that is not to difficult to build, store the PIN in a employee or user table <encrypted>
    2. Use a SMS text service API create a random number store it in a session var and send it by the SMS http get service to the user cellphone.
    What you also can do is to replace the A5 websecurity password with the random number in combination with the A5 sessionID save that somewhere.
    If the A5 sessionID is not valid then also the random number is false. In this way it saves the user time there is no need for two conformations to login.
    I think this combination is safe to use and it's a two factor authentication ideal for mobile apps.
    Some SMS providers offer email2SMS if you think is to difficult to write the http get function then you use the Xbasic function to send a email [plain text].
    3. If you want to use the mail2sms option be sure to use SHA encryption.

    Cost:

    1. your own time
    2. sms credit cost + your own time
    3. depending on the provider


    Eric

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    This topic came up about 16 months ago - check out the following thread:

    http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...6-Hipaa-Hitech

    Two-factor authentication is a Federal Information Processing Standard for U.S. Government systems that handle personally identifiable information.

    Terry

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Two factor authentication for A5 (ie PhoneFactor)

    Beside phonefactor there are options that are cheaper :
    I agree that there are other options. Whether they are cheaper may depend on how one assesses the opportunity value of their own time.

    Plus, if one wants two factor authentication, one needs to be careful not to dump one factor in favor of another. Example 1, seems to be a single factor (what one knows) broken into two parts. Example 2. can be two factor, but if the password is replaced rather than augmented by the info sent by SMS, authentication is still one factor (what one has). Example 3 seems to be an enhancement that makes the SMS (what one has) factor more trustworthy, but does not add a factor in and of itself.

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