NW_20010517_en_VASCO Pulls Ahead in US Bank Market with Signing of Fifth Third Bank

May 17, 2001

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. – May 17, 2001 – US-based VASCO (Nasdaq NM & Nasdaq Europe: VDSI; www.vasco.com), a global provider of security solutions that enable e-business and e-commerce, today announced that Fifth Third Bank (NASDAQ: FITB; www.53.com) – one of the top 25 largest bank holding companies in the United States with $70 billion in assets – is placing its trust in security provided by VASCO and its partner, Blockade Systems (www.blockade.com). Fifth Third Bank chose VASCO’s Digipass strong authentication integrated with Blockade’s enterprise security solutions to provide easy to use and highly secure access to thousands of Fifth Third Bank employees. The contract further confirms VASCO’s position as the world leader in providing authentication solutions to financial institutions, with more than 150 banks and millions of people now more secure thanks to VASCO.

“We were looking for a more efficient way to authenticate remote users accessing our corporate network over the Internet,” explained Patricia Heaton, Vice President of Data Processing for Fifth Third Bank. “Making sure that only authorized users could access our network was a primary concern, so we evaluated strong, two-factor authentication that could work seamlessly with Blockade’s products. Proven security, reliability, ease of use, scalability, and affordability were the primary considerations for our evaluation, and VASCO’s hand-held Digipass authentication device was the clear winner.”

VASCO’s Digipass works on the same principle as a bank ATM card, simply applied to the Internet and providing the same high level of security. To gain access to the bank’s corporate network from a remote location, employees must identify themselves with two “factors”: something they know (their personal login), and something they have in their possession (their Digipass authentication device). Each Digipass is uniquely programmed for each employee, and each Digipass will only work in combination with that employee’s login. In addition, the Digipass generates a random password that changes every 36 seconds – providing a significant barrier to unauthorized access. At the same time, VASCO has made Digipass simple to implement for IT managers, and easy to use for employees, customers, or partners. All Digipass devices also provide digital signature capability, allowing organizations the option of verifying the authenticity of online transactions and data transfer.

“We’re pleased that one of the largest and best-run banks in America has chosen Digipass strong authentication to protect its confidential information, allowing them to take advantage of the productivity benefits that come from allowing remote access for employees,” said Jan Valcke, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for VASCO. “The contract with Fifth Third Bank demonstrates the value of our security products, our leadership in the banking industry, and the strength of our relationships with leading partners such as Blockade Systems.”

Richard Liliani, CEO of Blockade, concurred. “Blockade’s products integrated seamlessly with Fifth Third Bank’s existing security environment, and that was a huge plus for Fifth Third. The Blockade products provided a very cost-effective solution by taking advantage of Fifth Third’s existing infrastructure and investment. And with Digipass security integrated into our products, it was an easy and logical step for Fifth Third Bank to enhance security with strong, two-factor authentication from VASCO. Digipass is an ideal security solution for any of Blockade’s corporate and government customers.”

VASCO secures the enterprise from the mainframe to the Internet with infrastructure solutions that enable secure e-business and e-commerce, protect sensitive information, and safeguard the identity of users. The Company's family of Digipass® and SnareWorks® products offers end-to-end security through strong authentication and digital signature, true Single Sign-On, access control and advanced entitlements, web portal security, and PKI enablement, while sharply reducing the time and effort required to deploy and manage security. VASCO's customers include hundreds of financial institutions, blue-chip corporations, and government agencies in more than 50 countries. More information is available at www.vasco.com.

About Blockade Systems Corp.
Blockade Systems Corp. is a world-leader in enterprise-wide security software solutions. Formed in 1988, Blockade has a comprehensive product line that delivers centralized security authentication, authorization, administration, password synchronization and reset, and Web Single Sign-on. Blockade boasts an impressive array of Fortune 100 companies among its clients, and a winning best-of-breed technology backbone that supports its products. Blockade has its headquarters in Toronto, Canada, five regional offices throughout the U.S., and a select network of vendor partners worldwide. More information is available at www.blockade.com.

About Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Company has $70 billion in assets, operates 17 affiliates with 974 full-service Banking Centers, including 147 Bank Mart® locations open seven days a week inside select grocery stores and 1,930 Jeanie® ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Arizona, Michigan and Illinois. A leader in e-commerce, Fifth Third was named the #1 e-business innovator by PC Week. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Retail, Commercial, Investment Advisors and Midwest Payment Systems, the Bank’s data processing subsidiary. More information is available at www.53.com.

Forward Looking Statements
Statements made in this news release that relate to future plans, events or performances are forward-looking statements. Any statement containing words such as “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “expects,” and similar words, is forward-looking, and these statements involve risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations. Consequently, actual results could differ materially from the expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements.

Reference is made to the Company's public filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for further information regarding the Company and its operations.

For more information contact:

VASCO Americas:
Mike Lange
+1 630 932 8844
[email protected]

VASCO Europe/Asia:
Ariane Bosmans
+32 2 456 9810
[email protected]

Blockade Systems Corp.
David Wells
+1 416 440 3833
[email protected]