A hard token, sometimes called an "authentication token," is a hardware security device that is used to authorize a user. An common example of a hard token is a security card that gives a user access to different areas of building or allows him to log in to a computer system. Some hard tokens are used in combination with other security measures to further enhance security. For example, a username and password or a fingerprint scan may be required along with the hard token to gain access to a secure system.
A hard tag is another type of hard token that is used as a security device on merchandise such as clothing and electronics. You have probably seen these used in several retail stores, where they are used to deter theft. If someone tries to exit the building with merchandise before the hard tag has been deactivated, it causes the security system by the doors to beep. Of course, if the cashier forgets to deactivate the hard tag, you get to experience the unpleasant beeping sound as you exit even if you paid for the merchandise.
Updated: November 3, 2006