Atalla, a division of Tandem Computers, announced today that it has developed its first Internet security products supporting the emerging SET standard.
The product, the Internet Security Processor, is initially designed for SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) payments and general purpose cryptography applications. It is a hardware solution that supports the PCI bus and will offload compute-intensive tasks from server CPUs and manage cryptographic keys within a physically secure shell.
The security specialist plans to cash in on the widespread deployment of the SET protocol, expected towards the end of this year.
According to Gray Sabo, vice president of the Atalla division at Tandem, if a SET-based infrastructure was in place today and everyone was equipped with digital certificates the whole system would last about 10 seconds before it crashed. ?SET relies on public key cryptography, which is very compute-intensive,? he said. ?We?ve taken the cryptographic sub-routines required by SET and put a hardware wrapper around them. By using hardware as opposed to software we can speed up the pace of the public key cryptography.?
The boxes will look like desktop PCs attached to a server via an Ethernet cable. ?Think of it as a hardware encapsulated sub-routine,? said Sabo.
According to Sabo the company will continue to shrink the technology as the cost comes down. ?Within three or four years cryptography will be on smartcards,? he said. It is possible to put a 32-bit Risc processor on a smartcard already and you can put some pretty strong cryptography on that.?
The new products, called Atalla Paymaster/PCI ISP and Atalla Websafe2/PCI ISP will sell for less than $5,000.
Atalla has traditionally played in the automatic teller machine and electronic funds transfer markets. An estimated 70 per cent of all ATM transactions in North America are secured by Atalla products.
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