RSA Security Unveils Software For Small Devices

The vendor's new software development kit is designed to let developers create encryption security for wireless applications.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

July 5, 2001

2 Min Read

RSA Security Inc., one of the largest providers of encryption algorithms used in desktop and network systems, is hoping to conquer the mobile and wireless developers market through the release of a new software development kit designed for wireless devices.

RSA BSafe Wireless Core, introduced late last month, is suitable for PDAs and Internet phones, which are more processor constrained than typical desktop systems, and therefore would not perform well with the data-intensive, standard versions of RSA's encryption software.

An advantage of RSA BSafe, says Kimberly Getgen, an RSA product marketing manager, is that developers are already familiar with the desktop versions of the software. And because the products come from the same company, she says, communications between devices and desktops can be secured more easily and quickly than if a user deployed a rival technology.

According to the vendor, RSA BSafe encryption-based security is embedded in over 450 million copies of current Internet applications, including Web browsers, commerce servers, E-mail systems, and virtual private network products. Because RSA BSafe cryptographic software has 1,000 licensees and more than 1 billion product units, RSA says it intends to make use of its current user base to take over the wireless encryption market.

"IT managers are not going to have to change the security operating system to handle wireless devices," Getgen says. "It's a validation of the traditional algorithm."

RSA BSafe Wireless Core has been configured to allow developers to use the RSA-based algorithms on wireless platforms including Epoc, Palm OS, and Windows CE. Using the software development kit, developers can include encryption with applications they develop for those devices, thereby scrambling information on the device as well as in transit. The development kit also includes RSA MultiPrime (the company's implementation of Compaq's MultiPrime technology) to process encrypting and signing operations.

Seamus McAteer, a research fellow with Jupiter Media Metrix, says RSA has a solid foothold in the wired world for encryption products, but will face new battles in the wireless world, and not just with developers. It also has to convince carriers and device manufacturers to support encryption. "They are obviously the 800-pound gorilla in the land-line business," says McAteer. "For enterprise apps, RSA plans on extending its brand and native support for its encryption technology to wireless devices of all shapes and sizes. But it's going to take a while."

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