V-One responds to agencies' concerns that pager communications aren'tsecure enough

At the request of agencies that use pagers for sensitive information, V-One Corp., a
virtual private networking company in Germantown, Md., has introduced a wireless client
for its flagship SmartGate VPN server.


The SmartPage client secures traffic to, from and between alphanumeric pagers.


“The level of interest shown by government organizations following several
high-profile stories of compromised pager communications confirmed the need to extend our
VPN security to wireless environments,” said company president and chief operating
officer David D. Dawson.


V-One ported its client VPN software for notebook computers, plus new extensions for
wireless transmission protocols, to pagers manufactured by Wireless Access Inc. of Santa
Clara, Calif. The software works with SmartGate 4.0 VPN software.


Wireless Access was scheduled to begin selling pagers with the SmartPage client
software this month. Also involved in the project is SkyTel Inc. of Jackson, Miss.,
which provides paging services for the Wireless Access pagers. SkyTel holds the General
Services Administration’s Advanced Personal Wireless Communications Equipment and
Services contract, a four-year governmentwide indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity
buy.


Dawson said the agencies that approached SkyTel in the last year voiced concerns about
pager eavesdropping. Intercepting pager messages transmitted in the clear is relatively
easy, he said.


Pager traffic between Secret Service agents and the White House regarding security of
the president’s family was intercepted in September.


V-One claims to secure messaging from pager to pager, e-mail to pager, and pager to


e-mail via the SmartGate VPN server and the two-way Wireless Access pagers. Client
software on the pager must be enrolled and registered online. Any device on the trusted
network can send a secured text message to the pager.


The SmartPage client lets a pager identify itself to another protected pager or other
device on the SmartGate 4.0 network and generate a single-session encryption key. A
recipient decrypts messages by entering a password for the pager’s secure folder.


The SmartGate 4.0 server software with wireless capability runs under Microsoft Windows
NT and several Unix network operating systems. The NT version sells for $6,995 and Unix
versions for $8,495. Client software is priced from $99 for one user to $49 per user for a
1,000-user license.


Contact V-One at 301-515-5200. 

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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