RSA Event Focuses on PKI

Kerberos, wireless also hot topics at security conferenceTHE RSA CONFERENCE 2000 show in San Jose, Calif., this week will spotlight public key infrastructure (PKI) and similar systems and their importance to network security, with vendors, including RSA, Microsoft, and Entrust, to debut systems.

Security for wireless systems also will be a focus at the conference, and Novell will detail software to manage authentication devices.

Leading the charge on its own floor, RSA will unveil Version 5.5 of Keon Certificate Server, a PKI system featuring OneStep, which provides a streamlined way to issue digital certificates to multiple users.

RSA will also showcase Bsafe Cert-C, a certificate-processing and cryptographic software development kit for building PKI-enabled applications for various PKI vendor infrastructures, including Keon and VeriSign OnSite.

The issue of security interoperability from a single point will be a major target for Microsoft at the conference, as the company will announce a partnership with CyberSafe to promote interoperability of Kerberos Version 5.0 in the Windows 2000 operating system with other Kerberos implementations.

Kerberos is similar to PKI.

Shanen Boettcher, product manager for Windows 2000 Security, said earlier versions of Windows that used NT LAN Manager as a network authentication protocol had some vulnerabilities. Kerberos Version 5.0 is a native feature of Windows 2000.

"We've worked in the real world with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to prove [Kerberos] interoperability," Boettcher said. "In a nutshell, it's done, and it's working out there."

Kerberos, which works similar to PKI as an authentication "ticket" but with a shorter life span, is better suited to a smaller amount of bandwidth than is used by PKI.

Now that the year-2000 transition is over and IT managers can safely refocus their attention on security, the PKI industry will explode to never before imagined heights in 2000 and beyond, said Kumar Gangwani, an industry analyst at Frost and Sullivan, in Mountain View, Calif.

"The market is growing 100 and 120 percent," Gangwani said. "Companies can now demonstrate return of investment for all these PKI deployments coming back, which a couple years ago wasn't the case. It's a real boost to these companies and shows why they're growing so fast."

Entrust Technology, no stranger to the PKI arena, plans to use the RSA show to turn attention toward its recent wireless endeavors as well as toward PKI.

Entrust will demonstrate secure two-way pager data deliveries and wireless e-mail for targeted applications. The company will also announce planned integration of Entrust's PKI 5.0 software with Windows 2000.

Security players in wireless communications have a long road ahead to ensure that information that is transported by the new stream of wireless devices and applications is completely safe, said Tim Scannell, a research analyst at Mobile Insights, in Mountain View, Calif.

"Wireless itself is inherently insecure," Scannell said. "All these [wireless] companies are doing WAP [Wireless Application Protocol] pushing, thin-client connections, and point of sale, without fully explaining what the security implications can be. It's going to be a real mess until the security gets in place. It will be a while."

Novell will announce Novell Modular Authentication Service, software that leverages Novell Directory Services to integrate and manage third-party strong authentication devices such as smart cards, biometric devices, and tokens.

Hewlett-Packard will make its presence felt at RSA 2000 by announcing a number of partnerships and agreements to power its new business-to-business "relationship management" extranet initiative for supply-chain trading partners.

HP also will introduce two products: HP Praesidium WebEnforcer for NT, which protects servers from vulnerabilities in Windows NT, and HP Praesidium DomainGuard Enterprise Authorization Manager 1.0, which provides Web-access control and authentication through a Web single sign-on feature, said Bill Sudlow, senior director of marketing and research and development at HP's Internet Security Division.

RSA Security Inc., in Bedford, Mass., is at www.rsa com. Hewlett-Packard Co., in Palo Alto, Calif., is at www.hp.com. Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Wash., is at www.microsoft.com. Entrust Technologies Inc., in Plano, Texas, is at www.entrust.com. Novell Inc., of Orem, Utah, is at www.novell.com.

RSA Conference 2000 highlights

* Public key infrastructure security systems will be debuted by RSA, Entrust.

* Microsoft will push Kerberos interoperability.

* Government update panel will hold a forum on relaxation of federal export encryption laws.

* Secure wireless plans will be touted.

NAI TO ANNOUNCE UPDATE OF ANTI-VIRUS SYSTEMNetwork Associates (NAI) at RSA Conference 2000 plans to unveil a faster virus-cure product and launch its E-ppliance security hardware line.

NAI VirusScan 4.5 will feature virus-dat file updating that is 20 times faster than that of previous offerings, says Martin Skov, product marketing manager for McAfee Total Virus Defense. Virus-dat is a file format used for anti-virus systems.

Other enhancements to VirusScan 4.5 include centralized management capabilities, such as an invisible desktop icon, stronger content filtering, and automatic virus cure and authentication.

NAI's E-ppliance initiative features two product lines: WebShield 100 and 300.

The 300 series features three different models -- 300, 310, and 320 -- that focus on cryptography acceleration, high-performance virtual private networks (VPNs), and high availability, respectively, said Allison Taylor, senior product marketing manager at NAI. The 100 series is strictly an anti-virus product.

Taylor said the E-ppliance line is specifically designed for customers with limited resources and technical expertise who are actively partaking in electronic commerce and need easy-to-manage security features.

"No one asks you if you're on the Internet anymore. They ask you what you're doing on it," Taylor said. "Most of those people don't have the type of staff to set up proper security for online [systems]."

Taylor said the E-ppliance line will ship this week, with a price range of between $11,000 and $20,000, varying according to the number of users per server.

Network Associates Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif., is at www.nai.com.

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