diskMAGazine (Mar 1992) : AmigaSecurity


                           SecureKey by DKB Software
                           -------------------------


Until recently, restricting access to Amiga computers meant that you locked
the door on the way out.  If all that was on the machine was a paused game
of "Shadow of the Beast II" that you didn't want your little sister messing
up, that was fine.  If you had six man-years of debugged 'C' source code for
the latest whiz-bang program sitting on the hard disk of a machine in a
company office...you'd probably want a *little* bit more protection.

On a PC clone, this is no problem.  Many hardware devices exist that password
protect entire systems or individual files, or even encrypt/decrypt data
transferred to/from a hard drive on the fly.  Newer models of PC motherboards
have these security options built right into the motherboard -- making them
impossible to bypass without the proper security code.

Amigas, however, are another story.

To the best of my knowledge there is only one hardware-based security system
for the Amiga, and that is the SecureKey (tm) by DKB Software.

The SecureKey is an internal expansion card for the Amiga 2000 and 3000
series of computers.  Once installed, the board requires the user to enter
a password in order to access the system.  Three chances are given and if
they all fail, the machine is locked tight.


PHYSICAL ASPECTS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The SecureKey is what would be considered a half-card in length.  It is about
one inch longer than the Amiga Zorro slot itself.  SecureKey consists of about
eight chips and half-a-dozen resistors.  The board easily installed in both
my A2000 and A3000.  When installing the card, it is not necessary to remove
the metal slot covers as the card does not contact the back of the machine.

In my A3000 the top slot (Zorro/Video) is occupied by a GVP IV24 card; the
second slot (Zorro/Bridge) is occupied by the SecureKey; the third by an XT
Bridgecard and the fourth by a Supra 2400zi modem.  The SecureKey is small
enough that it *looks* like I can fit a half-size PC-card in the PC slot
that is inline with the SecureKey.  I don't have a PC card to try, but it
looks like it just *might* fit.


SOFTWARE
~~~~~~~~
Operation is simple.  A warm or cold boot of the machine brings up an IFF
screen demanding a password.  Enter it wrong and it tells you to try again.
Three times wrong and the system locks requiring a reboot.  Get it right
and the machine proceeds as normal.

The password prompt comes *before* Kickstart is loaded on my A3000, so I
have to enter my password, which allows Kickstart to load.  After the
machine warm-boots itself, I have to enter the password *again*.  Yes, a
pain in the butt, but it will go away when I get Kickstart in ROM.

The only other option is to change the password.  If, instead of just
entering your password when prompted, you click on the gadget that says
"Click Here to Change Your Password", you can enter a new password after
you properly enter the old one.  New passwords must be entered twice so
as to help avoid typographical errors.

Passwords are case sensitive.  The board works with Kickstart 1.3 and
2.0, as well as with 1 meg or 2 megs of chip RAM.  (I didn't test 512K
of chip.)  The password is not displayed on the screen as you type it.


AVAILABILITY
~~~~~~~~~~~~
The SecureKey is available from DKB Software
                                50240 W. Pontiac Tr.
                                Wixom, MI 48393

                                (313) 960-8750 voice
                                (313) 960-8752 fax

Retail price is $129.95.


FINAL NOTES
~~~~~~~~~~~
While DKB's SecureKey isn't the final word in system security -- it can
still be physically removed from the machine -- it is the best you can
get on an Amiga.  Short of actually opening my Amiga and removing the
board, I could not bypass the password protection.  For those who are
truely paranoid, or just need a high level of security, I would suggest
contacting Black Belt Systems and ordering their 'C Tool Shed' utility
disk.  On it there is a program called 'crypt' which will encrypt any file
to a keyword using DES encryption methods.  Used in combination with DKB's
SecureKey and some common sense security measures, your system and it's 
data will be as safe as it can get.
     
     A couple of weeks ago there was a ruckus about a stolen anim being 
distributed via the networks.  It seems a prominant Amigan was giving a
demonstration and lecture at a junior college and had left his machine
on campus overnight.  While alone, the poor Amiga was ravaged and an
animation copyrighted by Walt Disney World, Inc. was stolen.  Had the
machine in question contained a SecureKey, it might have been a different
story.