Research In Motion has introduced a new smartcard reader for the BlackBerry.

Designed to make multi-factor implementation easier, the company claimed that it is ISO 7816 compliant, which will enable proximity controlled access to a user's BlackBerry smartphone and computer.

It uses Bluetooth 2.0 technology with advanced AES-256 encryption to enable secure pairing and communications between the reader, the BlackBerry smartphone, the computer and PKI applications.

Its features offer additional security options that can be set by the IT administrator when used with the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution. IT administrators can also configure settings to allow handset passwords to work only if the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader is within range. These settings add another layer of protection on top of the handset password and will also be enforceable for a secondary password required to unlock encrypted data on the handset.

It can also prevent unauthorised access, as by instead of inserting the smartcard into a stationary reader or bulky peripheral attachment, which can easily be left behind, users insert a smartcard into this sleek lightweight reader and wear it on a lanyard. If the user is no longer in proximity, their BlackBerry smartphone or computer will automatically lock

Scott Totzke, vice president, BlackBerry security group at RIM, said: “The BlackBerry Smart Card Reader provides security-conscious organisations with another powerful tool for controlling access to computers and BlackBerry smartphones.”