Spyrus' FIPS Standard Encryption product for Netscape accepts multiple token types

Spyrus' FIPS Standard Encryption product for Netscape accepts multiple token types

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

Spyrus Inc., maker of the Fortezza encryption card, has designed a Federal Information Processing Standard-compliant Web security platform that accepts multiple token types.

The San Jose, Calif., company's FIPS Standard Encryption (FSE) product for Netscape browsers takes advantage of the Defense Department's site license for Web products from Netscape Communications Corp.

Spyrus already has enabled Fortezza encryption algorithms via Type II PC Cards for DOD's Netscape client and server products. The new FSE for Netscape will also accept software and smart card encryption tokens to provide multiple levels of security less expensively than Fortezza.

Although the Fortezza PC Card provides high security, each card costs the government about $100. For that reason, Fortezza has not been widely deployed since its 1995 introduction. It is mandated only for Defense Message System use.

Cheaper software tokens provide a more basic level of security for exchanging sensitive information. Spyrus' Rosetta smart card, which supports the same algorithms as the Fortezza PC Card, is more secure than software though not as secure as the PC Card.

The Rosetta smart card costs about half as much as the Fortezza PC Card.

FSE for Netscape will work with the Netscape browsers and servers already in use at DOD. 'We can expand what they are doing,'' said John Lee, vice president of systems engineering for Spyrus.

FSE supports FIPS-186, 180-1 and 185 cryptographic standards, Fortezza algorithms, Secure Sockets Layer authentication and encryption between Web server and browser, and Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions for e-mail. It works with Netscape Communicator 4.51 or later versions on the client side and Netscape Enterprise Server for Fortezza 3.5 on the server side.

Also included in FSE is Spyrus' S2CA public-key infrastructure for a digital certificate authority to assure the authenticity of digital signatures on documents.

Lee said FSE for Netscape is the first in a line of Spyrus security products that will be bundled with Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers, as well as with Secure-MIME and virtual private networking products.

FSE for Netscape works now with PC Cards and software tokens; smart card support will come later this year. Prices start at $15,000 for 20 user seats for the PKI registration authority.

Contact Spyrus at 408-327-1901.

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