Wending through the encryption maze

Public key security is headed for the mainstream, but a new crypto-cracking contest underscores persistent concerns.

Digital certificates are not yet widely deployed, but companies are betting that won't be true much longer. So-called public key systems are making news at the annual RSA Data Security conference, but a new crypto-cracking contest underscores the complications the industry faces.

Record set in cracking 56-bit crypto
A joint effort between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Distibuted.Net cracks the DES algorithm in less than 23 hours.

Digital certificates move ahead
Makers of public key infrastructure, or PKI systems, develop software that works with two or more standards.

Digital certificates for the mainstream
Joining a crowded field, RSA Data debuts products designed to push digital certificates into mainstream use.

VerSecure gets U.S. approval
The federal government OKs Hewlett-Packard to export its crypto product to nine new countries, bringing the total number to 17.

Netscape updates directory, security
The company targets e-commerce customers with a bundle that includes improved digital-certificate software.

Security show highlights trends
The biggest trends in Internet security are showcased at the annual RSA Data Security conference, put on by the leading vendor of encryption technology.

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by Brian Tong