Smart card vendor Gemalto is set to introduce a device that will provide additional security to users such as web shoppers.

The USB devices will not require any specialised software and will work with standard browsers and use the same Transport Layer Security (TLS) mechanisms already used by websites. Network Identity Manager will also use a "token management system" that will sort out which credentials need to be supplied to different sites, and will support Verisign's VIP Network Identity federation framework.

Dutch company Gemalto hopes that its new system, the Network Identity Manager, will be easy enough to use that it will appeal to consumers.

Because the user has to have the smart card device plugged into the PC before logging onto an online bank or e-commerce site, the device will thwart many common identity theft tactics including phishing or keylogging, according to Amol Deshmukh, a marketing manager with Gemalto. "It can create a much stronger link with whatever back-end you're trying to connect with," he said.

Gemalto may face a tough sell, according to Avivah Litan, a Gartner analyst. Whileproducts like the Network Identity Manager will provide protection from many types of attacks, banks have not been clamouring for this kind of USB device, she said.