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Bob Warren, vice president and treasurer of $2.5 billion Diebold Inc., knew that the more his North Canton, Ohio-based company relied on the Internet to automate transactions, the more risk of interception and fraud it would have to assume. But Warren didn’t want to wait for the inevitable and has set out to beat the hackers before one fraudulent keystroke is attempted. His initial weapon of choice: digital certificates that will help ensure that, in any transaction, the entity Diebold is dealing with and the entity it thinks it is dealing with are one and the same.

Working with IdenTrust, a San-Francisco-based identity authentication provider, Warren and his treasury team are working on a multi-authentication strategy using smart cards, which contain a user’s digital credentials, in addition to the customary use of PINs and passwords to access an Internet-based ATM network. Diebold recently installed new encryption software in its information systems to reduce e-mail interceptions. “At the pre-financial transaction level, where there is a lot of information exchange taking place, there is the risk that an e-mail with wire instructions on it will be hijacked,” Warren says. “We don’t want an interceptor to modify the e-mail by creating new wiring instructions that send money to the interceptor’s account.”

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