Earlier software tokens were considered weak against malicious activities because the chain of trust could not be established by putting trust on software available at the runtime of the token usage. These days software tokens have become more effective as the available hardware tokens, aka hardware assisted security modules (TPM, or read only and preferably tamper resistant memory), are used to provide a strong Root of Trust to the software tokens as they are used trust-worthily by using the OS platform trust engine to establish chain of trust for application engines.

Note that security modules like TPMs have additional protected capabilities that can be emulated with software modules if needed. Consider the use of vTPMs in cloud computing scenarios over Xen hypervisor.

Software tokens are easy to handle and are more flexible then the hardware counterparts and roots of trust!

For more details:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_token

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