Password-security store opens in the Dayton Mall

Centerville entrepreneur developed device aimed at thwarting hackers

One month after she and her PasswordFAST product appeared on the “Today” show in a contest to find the “Next Big Thing,” LeAnn Bell of Centerville opened a retail kiosk inside the Dayton Mall.

The PasswordFAST device, which retails for $19.99, stores passwords safely on a hand-held, portable device that is not connected to the Internet or to a computer or smartphone, which keeps it secure from hackers, Bell says. Users can store their sensitive login credentials and password information for online bank and credit card accounts and other web sites and applications on the device, which uses an advanced encryption standard. Users need to remember only one password to access the device.

The PasswordsFAST device itself has been around for a few years, but attracted national attention a month ago when it and its inventor were selected as one of nine finalists in the “Today” show’s Next Big Thing contest. Bell appeared on a segment of the show to explain how PasswordsFAST works.

“Now I’m starting to get some recognition,” Bell said, in part because the burden of juggling multiple logins and increasingly complex passwords has only increased in recent years, as has the level of sophistication of Internet thieves looking to hack into home computers for sensitive information. “This really resonates now with people,” the device’s inventor said.

Bell is negotiating to get the PasswordsFAST device placed in big-box stores in 2016. It is also available at about 150 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and on the QVC shopping channel.

For now, though, Bell’s focus is on her new kiosk inside the Dayton Mall. The mall’s general manager, Dave Duebber, said the shop is located near the mall’s center court, across from Kay Jewelers.

Bell’s plan is to sell the device at her kiosk only through Dec. 31, but those plans may change.

“If it goes well, I’ll order more inventory and go back up there” to the mall, Bell said.

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