Cylink also said it will allow the Internet Software Consortium to use the Diffie-Hellman and digital signature standard (DSS) protocols, which Cylink markets, for free. RSA made a similar announcement with ISC.
The announcements come during Cylink competitor RSA Data Security's annual conference, a major event in the network security world. Cylink contends the timing of its announcement is purely coincidental.
Cylink's software tools offering, called Foundation Suite, is its first commercial crypto toolkit. The tools are aimed squarely at RSA's tools for software developers and hardware vendors, where RSA derives most of its revenue.
Cylink said its tools, which will begin shipping in March, help implement public key cryptography standards blessed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
"All the standards out there under IEF are now using Diffie-Hellman as a portion of what they're requiring," said Matthew Kovar, analyst at the Yankee Group, who thinks Cylink's offering will appeal to smaller developers because of its price.
"They're not going to require something that's RSA because they don't want to force them to pay for something that is ultimately proprietary," Kovar said.
However, RSA's popularity has made it a de facto standard in many applications, including secure email (S/MIME) and online credit card purchases (Secure Electronic Transactions or SET).
Cylink's tool suite will enable developers to use digital signatures, key management (based on Diffie-Hellman), and encryption (based on DES, triple-DES, and SAFER). Cylink will offer Foundation Suite for a one-time fee with no field of use restrictions or per unit royalties--a different model from RSA's licensing scheme.
Cylink's free license to the Internet Software Consortium and its members implements the digital signature standard (DSS) for securing Directory Name Service (DNS), a core Internet protocol for locating sites.