IBM software gets FIPS 140-2 nod for cryptography

A new version of IBM Corp.'s wireless access management software has won Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 certification for its cryptographic module.

IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager 5.0 on a handheld or notebook computer can roam between high-speed wireless networks such as IEEE 802.11b, General Packet Radio Service and Code Division Multiple Access. It protects data by forming a mobile IP or non-IP virtual private network or private packet radio network, avoiding hiccups that would otherwise bring wireless transmissions to a sudden halt.

The FIPS 140-2 certification applies to the software running under IBM AIX 5.2, Sun Trusted Solaris and all Microsoft Windows clients, the company said.

A new addition to Version 5.0 is the Wireless Security Auditor, which lets administrators automatically find access points and gaps in wireless LAN security configurations. It's billed as an easy-to-use assessor for those who don't know much about 802.11 protocols. Its red and green colors leave no doubt about the Auditor's findings.

Sold separately or as part of IBM's new Mobile Office Entry Jumpstart package, the software also lets users prioritize the roaming radar to choose certain networks over others for the sake of bandwidth or cost. And it compresses data transfers up to 67 percent.

WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager is a component of a new wireless environment being beta-tested by Hill Air Force Base to track equipment for F-16, A-10 and C-130 military aircraft.

The Air Force Materiel Center at the Ogden, Utah, base is running IBM WebSphere Everyplace Access 4.3 middleware under AIX on eServers. The IBM system is expected to save the Air Force millions of dollars annually, said Myron Anderson, Hill's provisional IT director.

'We evaluated several products on the market very carefully,' he said. 'Our requirements for high-grade security, device independence and flexibility were highly demanding.'

The IBM software is also tucked into a wireless roaming network that will link PCs, handhelds and data-capable cell phones of more than 40 local, state and federal agencies that make up the Washington metropolitan area's Capital Wireless Integrated Network for first responders.

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