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Fool-proof protection for PayPal

Ebay Inc will in the coming months offer a $5 security key, new tool to combat phishers for its PayPal users. A tiny electronic device, the PayPal Security Key can be attached to a key chain by clipping it on and is capable of calculating new numeric passwords every 30 seconds.

On signing up, users have to key in their regular passwords in addition to a number displayed on the key each time they log in.

Constantly changing numbers on the device ensure that the sign in code expires in seconds. A spammer who succeeds in getting a username and password would be unable to get access to an account, which is under the security key protection.

PayPal spokeswoman, Sara Bettencourt confirmed on the phone on January 11, 2007, the news by CNET. With the key, users get an additional security layer for their accounts. Even if you fall prey to a phishing scam and reveal you username and password, the PayPal security key would protect your account from third party users lacking the dynamic digit.

On the company forums the general consensus among most users was to embrace the new technology, but some were less than pleased about the $5 charge. For business users the key is free.

Users in the US, Germany and Australia would have the option of signing up for a trial on a special website. Bettencourt revealed that the response would determine eventual rollout to other countries.

Virus Bulletin's website carried a statement by John Hawes, their technical consultant on eBay and its online payments subsidiary PayPal being hot favorites as phishing targets. For most email users the normal tendency is to delete a couple of requests for account details each week, if not daily.

He identified big spenders as being prime targets for scammers. Frequent offers of a second chance to purchase products never desired are randomly spammed. phishing of this kind would not be entirely eliminated. However, any effort towards user protection and keeping fraud to a minimum is praiseworthy.

Related article: Flaw For PayPal Website, Opportunity For Fraudsters

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