The new product, targeted at Fortune 1000 firms that are building intranets and Internet applications, lets users affix digital signatures onto a document and send it across a network, allowing the recipient to verify the document's authenticity.
Terisa's digital signature technology encrypts the message, authenticates the identities of all parties, and supports nonrepudiation of message content. That means the document is unintelligible to anyone who might intercept it; that identities of sender, recipient, and any third parties are verified; and that the sender cannot claim that the document is not genuine or was altered en route.
"This brings the power of digital signatures to electronic documents and allows content providers to secure their content via digital signatures," said Frank Jackson, Terisa's director of development. "It lets a user authenticate not only who a document came from but the content in a way that cannot be repudiated."
For example, the product would allow an online stock brokerage to receive and acknowledge a buy-sell order or a Web storefront to issue a receipt for a customer's purchase, assuring all parties that the order or receipt could not be disavowed later.
Terisa claims its product goes beyond S/MIME--an email-based technology that does not support HTML forms--and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which is not based on documents and doesn't allow nonrepudiation.
Initially, Terisa will target online brokerages and Internet banks for its new software, with government/legal and health care seen as other key markets. It hopes that SecureWeb Documents will be used for online legal depositions, IRS filings, processing loan applications, secure stock trading, and medical claims.
The 1.0 client version of SecureWeb will be available for download from Terisa's Web site on December 15 as a plug-in for Netscape Navigator 3.0 on Windows 95 and Windows NT. A version for Microsoft's Internet Explorer is promised by mid-1997. Web servers from O'Reilly and Associates and National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), which support Secure HTTP, currently support the Terisa's client software.
The 1.0 server version of SecureWeb Documents initially will be available for Netscape Enterprise Server 2.0 on Sun Solaris version 2.5. Early access is slated for December 23, with general availability by March. It will cost $25,000 plus run-time fees starting at $1,750. A Windows NT version of the server product is due next year.