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Spyrus buys Signet Systems

The move will allow Spyrus to enter Asia's security market and also puts it into competition with larger security firms.

Broadening its network security offerings, Spyrus, which markets hardware security tokens and software, has acquired an Australian certificate authority firm called Signet Systems.

The move will allow Spyrus to enter Asia's security market, but it also puts it into competition with large public key infrastructure (PKI) vendors like VeriSign, Entrust Technologies, GTE Cybertrust, and Ireland's Baltimore Technologies. No terms were disclosed.

"We are positioning ourselves as a high-assurance PKI vendor, which separates us from the offerings of others," said Spyrus spokesman Ken Mohr.

Spyrus will supply software to issue, manage, revoke, and verify digital certificates for security-conscious government agencies and large enterprises. Digital certificates serve as an electronic ID card to vouch for the identity of an individual online.

Signet Systems, which began as a defense contractor, will allow Spyrus, which primarily markets Lynks tokens and Rosetta smart cards that serve as identity devices, can sell new products to existing Signet customers. Spyrus also has software toolkits to implement security protocols SSL and SET, both acquired last year with Terisa Systems.

Australia also provides a jumping off point for selling in Asia. Spyrus is banking heavily on systems integrator KPMG, which is using the Spyrus and Signet technologies in a global e-trading system for the United Nations Trade Point Development Center.

"Spyrus can now say it has not only the delivery vehicle on which you can hold digital certificates, we can also provide you with the infrastructure for a digital certificate PKI to go with it," said Larry Dietz, security analyst at Current Analysis.

"Now Spyrus will be able to be much more of a player in accounts it couldn't have got into at all," Dietz added. "How effective it will be will depend on its sales and marketing resources."