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Five sign with VeriSign

VeriSign is quickly cementing its hold on the digital certificate market with the support of a slew of new Web server vendors.

Nearly a half-dozen Web server vendors will soon be able to verify Net users' identities by licensing digital certificate technology from VeriSign, a company moving fast to dominate an important aspect of Web security.

Spyglass, Process, Community Connexion, Luckman Interactive, and Connect will all announce tomorrow at Networld + Interop in Las Vegas their intent to boost their servers' security by integrating Verisign's digital certificate technology, called Digital IDs.

Already the leading supplier of digital certificates for Web servers, Verisign's customers include Netscape Communications, Microsoft, and Oracle. Digital IDs use Secure Sockets Layer encryption to assign an electronic identity code to each server--confirming, for example, that consumers' credit card numbers are really going to an online merchant and not a hacking imposter when Internet purchases are made.

"If go to the LL Bean site and I see some clothes I like, when I fill out order form and it asks for my credit card, I want to be sure they are who they say they are," said Gina Jorasch, director of product marketing at VeriSign. Jorasch estimated that there are already "several thousand" Web servers on the Net with digital certificates.

Separately, Dun & Bradstreet and VeriSign will also announce tomorrow a plan to streamline the process for Web sites to apply for digital certificates.

VeriSign's next step to bolster Internet security is to provide digital certificate technology for Web browsers, an addition that will help verify the identities of individual clients in addition to servers and allow users to dispense with passwords to get into Web sites, VeriSign officials said.

Netscape last week posted a beta version of its Navigator 3.0 browser that includes preliminary support for digital certificates.

Related stories:
Netscape looks to multimedia, security
Netscape battens down security hatches