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RSA upgrades JSafe toolkit

The encryption software maker is upgrading its security toolkit for Java developers.

Encryption software maker RSA Data Security is upgrading its security toolkit for Java developers.

On Monday, the company will release the JSafe 1.1 toolkit that lets Java developers build encryption into Java programs. Encryption uses complex mathematical formulas to scramble data and keep it away from snoopers. RSA creates the underlying formulas and packages them for software developers to use in their products.

The upgrade now works with RSA's BSafe toolkit, which developers use for programs built with the C language. If a developer is building an application that mixes C and Java code, she will need both the BSafe and JSafe toolkits. The advantage now is that JSafe automatically connects the Java- and C-based encryption code, according to RSA product manager Tim Matthews. Before, a programmer had to write the "glue" code herself.

The underlying calculations used to process the cryptographic operations such as the creation of a digital signature have been sped up, according to Matthews. Depending on the operation and the type of Java virtual machine in use, JSafe 1.1 is on average twice as fast as JSafe 1.0, Matthews said. Because computers need an extra step to understand or "interpret" Java, JSafe remains slower than the BSafe kit.

The toolkit allows software developers to add encryption up to 2048 bits in length to their applications. Because of the strong encryption it provides, the kit must be approved on a case-by-case basis for export by the federal government.

Jsafe 1.1 is fully compatible with the Java Development Kit 1.1. The next version, due later this year, should be compatible with the upcoming JDK 1.2, Matthews said. JSafe 1.1 is available for $290. Any products built with it are subject to a royalty or annual fee, with a minimum payment to RSA of $15,000.