Racal Claims First Upgradable Hardware Encryptor

LAS VEGAS (05/10/2000) - Racal Security, which last week changed its name to Zaxus Inc., used the NetWorld+Interop show here yesterday to announce what it said is the first IP encryptor that is upgradable to the planned AES (Advanced Encryption Standard).

The United States Chamber of Commerce has yet to decide what technology will be used for AES -- that decision is expected next summer -- but Zaxus claims that its new Datacryptor 2000 IP can be upgraded to any of the five proposals from the cryptography industry that are under consideration.

AES is intended to replace Triple DES (Data Encryption Standard), which is thought to be vulnerable to "brute force" attacks, as its simpler forerunner, DES, has been shown to be.

"It's just a matter of time before Triple DES is cracked," said Juan Asenjo, product line manager for the Datacryptor family.

Zaxus terms its upgrade "software-like," by which it means that the upgrade is as simple as a software upgrade, despite the fact that Zaxus's encryption technology is hardware-based. The upgrade is achieved by swapping in a new module, and can be performed on-site and without the need for an engineer, according to Asenjo.

The Datacryptor 2000 IP is being shipped in two phases: The first release is scheduled for June, and operates at 10Mbps. This model will not be AES-ready but can be upgraded to the model that is slated to ship this fall, which operates at 100Mbps and is AES-ready. Pricing information was not released.

According to Cindy Provin, chief operating officer of Zaxus, the decision to drop the Racal Security name was designed to eliminate marketplace confusion.

Zaxus Inc., in Sunrise, Florida, is at www.zaxus.com.

Matthew Woollacott is InfoWorld's news editor.

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