Compaq and SafeNet partner for wireless security

Computer security developer SafeNet plans to use Compaq encryption technology in its SafeNet security processors built for wireless devices.

SafeNet will use Compaq's MultiPrime algorithm in its SafeXcel microprocessors, used to speed up SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) transactions in wireless applications, the companies announced on Wednesday.

Encryption can be a computationally intense activity, and the processors in handheld devices like PDAs (personal digital assistants) or smart phones can't encrypt and decrypt data as fast as most desktop PC processors. SafeXcel chips function as a co-processor for wireless devices, allowing the encryption processing to be offloaded from the main microprocessor, the company said.

Compaq's MultiPrime technology reduces the computational load further. MultiPrime is a variant of the more commonly used RSA algorithm, according to Compaq.

RSA encryption multiplies two relatively large prime numbers together to create a code. MultiPrime uses three or more prime numbers, spreading the multiplication task along parallel circuits of the processor to speed the computation.

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