$149
pledged of $175,000pledged of $175,000 goal
3
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 12 2015
$149
pledged of $175,000pledged of $175,000 goal
3
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 12 2015

About

It's important to keep your computers secure. At home, you want to insure that your children, friends or guests can't access your personal information, make unauthorized purchases or visit inappropriate web sites. At work, it's important to protect your computer from access by unauthorized co-workers, cleaning crews, and so on.

Passwords have been around since ancient times. "Open Sesame" opened the door of the robbers' den in Ali Baba and the Forty Theives. In today's technologically advanced world, passwords are still the most common method used to secure our computers, even though stories of password theft are in the news all the time.

The problem with passwords is the same now as it has always been: a password that is easy to remember is usually easy to guess. And once someone guesses your password, you've got trouble.

A secure password is make up of a sequence of characters, digits and symbols that have no inherent meaning and therefore cannot be "guessed". However, it is very difficult for the human brain to remember secure passwords. It's also difficult for people to keep track of passwords that continually change, perhaps because of a password policy at work that periodically requires you to change your password. For these reasons, people often resort to this:

Even if you don't have trouble remembering strong passwords, someone can be watching over your shoulder or a rogue program can be capturing your keystrokes.

Fingerprints are a much better alternative to passwords.  A high quality fingerprint reader provides strong security for your computer, and it's much easier and quicker to swipe your finger than it is to remember and type in a complex password.

However, securing your computer against unauthorized use requires more than just making it difficult for someone else to log in.  After you've logged into your computer, anyone can access it.  When you walk away, even for a short time, someone else can easily gain access.

What if your computer automatically locked itself within seconds after you walked away from it?  

ProxLok is more than just a fingerprint reader! ProkLok determines your proximity to your computer by establishing a connection to your cell phone after you log in, and then continually monitors that connection.

When ProxLok detects that your cell phone has moved away from the computer, it automatically locks the computer. Your cell phone can remain in your pocket or purse, and ProxLok does not interfere with the operation of your cell phone in any way.

If you don't happen to have your cell phone with you, no worries. After you log in, ProxLok will warn you that it can't detect your cell phone and ask if you want it to periodically request a fingerprint scan in order to keep you logged in. Or, you can just use the warning as a reminder that you left your cell phone behind somewhere, and go retrieve it.

If you want even more security, ProxLok can be configured to periodically request a fingerprint scan even when it detects your cell phone, just in case you're prone to leaving your cell phone behind.

All of these features and more can be configured to your liking, so you can get the balance of convenience and security that fits your needs.

Additional Benefits

Protecting your computer against unauthorized use is certainly important. But what about all those web sites you visit that require passwords?

There seems to be no end to the news stories about yet another company's servers being hacked and passwords stolen. You should never use the same password on more than one web site, no matter how complex the password is.

Password managers, such as LastPass and Roboform, provide an easy way for you to use strong passwords for the web sites you use without having to remember any of them.  However, they require you to create a "master" password to protect the list of stored passwords.

This presents the same dilemma as your Windows log in password, if not worse. If your master password is easy to guess, all your stored passwords are vulnerable (and conveniently organized in one place for whoever is stealing them).  If your master password is complex, then it's difficult to remember and cumbersome to type in all the time.  Even if it's complex, someone can look over your shoulder or spy on you and see what you're typing.

ProkLok solves this problem as well. Both RoboForm and LastPass can easily be configured to use a fingerprint reader instead of asking for the master password.  By configuring a very secure master password that you don't have to remember and using your fingerprint to access your web password manager, your web passwords are highly secure!

Once ProxLok is installed, the RoboForm and LastPass master password requests look like this:

Windows 10

Microsoft understands the problem, and introduced the Windows Biometric Framework in Windows 7. They're taking it to the next level in Windows 10 with "Windows Hello". You can read about that here: http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/03/17/making-windows-10-more-personal-and-more-secure-with-windows-hello/.

ProxLok will be fully compatible with Windows Hello.

Even with these advances, Windows Hello doesn't address the issue of your computer being vulnerable once you've logged in, and then walk away. But we've got that covered with our patented technology.

ProxLok works with Windows 7, 8 and 10 (please see below for system requirements).

Still Not Sure?

If you still believe passwords provide adequate protection for your important data, here's some links to what others have to say about the issue:

Future Plans / Stretch Goals

In addition to detecting the presence of your cell phone, we will also be looking into the ability to detect smart watches. We also will be looking into detecting Bluetooth-enabled tags as an alternative to detecting your cell phone.  This option may be more attractive for business users.  We'll keep you posted as our R&D progresses.

Where We're At

Here are some photos of our prototype boards and test setups:

Progress Report

Here's what has been completed so far:

  • Product design
  • Prototype units based on our current biometric reader PCB
  • Component selection and sourcing
  • Simplified PCB prototype design
  • Initial testing on Windows 7 and 10

Remaining tasks and anticipated completion dates:

System Requirements

ProxLok works on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10, running on Intel-compatible processors. One USB port is required.

Questions?

If there's anything not answered here or in our FAQ, please feel free to shoot us an email to proxlok@proxense.com

Risks and challenges

Since 2005, Proxense has been designing and building its TruProx™ proximity-based access and tracking systems and the software and firmware that powers them. These products are primarily geared towards large commercial, industrial and healthcare applications. Many of the engineers that designed and implemented our products and technologies were part of the original engineering team at XM Satellite Radio.

ProxLok is the second generation of our patented fingerprint reader and proximity detection technology. There are always risks and challenges with any project of this nature, including supplier delays, certification delays and so on. Having done all of this before, we expect these to be low risk and have been conservative in our delivery estimates.

Of course, we'll keep you updated along the way with our progress!

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