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Net security a top concern

Recognizing that data security on the Net is a top concern for corporate IS managers, a handful of software makers at Internet World introduce new security software.

NEW YORK--Recognizing that data security on the Internet is a top concern for corporate IS managers, a handful of software makers here at Internet World have introduced new security software.

IBM's SecureWay Key Management Framework is designed to let separate businesses or different departments within a single company communicate securely even when they use incompatible encryption methods. Encryption scrambles data transmissions so they cannot be effectively intercepted.

IBM also said its key encryption alliance, intended to push for nongovernmental entities to store cryptographic keys as a way to boost secure Internet commerce, has tripled its membership. The alliance hopes to boost global use of strong encryption without giving Washington the secret codes. New members include America Online, Northern Telcom, and Novell.

Finjan Software played up another security theme: protecting corporate networks and user hard drives from rogue Java or ActiveX code that might wreak havoc with critical data. Finjan's SurfinGate 1.0, available for $1,000 now from Finjan's Web site, scans incoming data to block potential harmful or unauthorized Java applets and ActiveX controls from getting onto an intranet.

A Microsoft-led consortium of PC and smart card companies, the PC/SC WorkGroup, released specifications to integrate smart cards--wallet-sized plastic cards with an embedded computer chip--with personal computers. PC/SC members include smart card heavyweights Groupe Bull, Hewlett-Packard, Schlumberger Electronic Transactions, and Siemens Nixdorf.

In other developments:

  • Aventail said beta versions of its Mobile VPN and PartnerVPN software to create virtual private networks that securely connect users through a corporate firewall will be available December 26.

  • VeriSign, which issues digital IDs, announced a program to make it easy for systems integrators and ISPs to offer authentication services to their users. VeriSign also announced a logo program so that Web sites indicate if they have digital IDs.

  • GTE, a VeriSign rival, said long distance carriers can use its CyberTrust digital certificates to securely check customer billing and account status on GTE's intranet.

  • Litronic, known best for making computer keyboards, released its SecureSmart data protection software to secure data, email, spreadsheets, and documents. It offers user authentication, file and email encryption, key management, access control, data compression, and file shredding.

  • Haystack Labs, unveiled a Windows NT version of its WebStalker-Pro security package, which monitors Web servers to detect and respond to attacks from both outside and inside the firewall. Haystack also released a white paper called the "Top Ten Reasons Why a Firewall is not Enough."

  • Secure Computing announced its filtering service, the Webster Control List, is now available for Windows NT. The WebTrack service lets companies block employee access to Web sites deemed undesirable.

  • Vasco Data Security said its Java-based user token, Internet AccessKey, will work with Netscape's security architecture to identify the user of a Navigator browser.