Certicom Releases Handheld Encryption Software

Security software maker Certicom releases MovianCrypt

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

June 8, 2001

2 Min Read

You've lost your handheld computer, and all of the sensitive work and personal data it stored. Maybe you had the data backed up, but what happens if it ends up in criminal hands? Most PDA encryption products require users to remember to manually encrypt the data, or shut down the PDA in a predefined sequence. Usually the data is stored without being encrypted, and can easily be found.

Security software maker Certicom believes it has a solution in its MovianCrypt handheld-encryption software released this week. The software works in the background, encrypting and decrypting data only as individual files are accessed, says Tracy Grover, product manager for MovianCrypt. After a file is closed, the software re-encrypts data during idle CPU time. If users are accessing data less than 8 Mbytes in size, the encryption process will not be noticeable, Grover says.

The software requires 98 Kbytes of disk storage and 8 Kbytes of dynamic memory when running. MovianCrypt does not store the password on the device so it can't be found if the device is lost.

MovianCrypt creates an encryption key during installation, which is based on random movements users make with their stylus and a password chosen by the user. When users enter the password at a later date, a temporary key that is stored in memory is created. This temporary key enables MovianCrypt to encrypt and decrypt data until the device is turned off.

MovianCrypt is based on AES 128-bit encryption for individual records, including the address book, memo pad, and any other application data files. The software also encrypts application preferences and contents in the clipboard. Users can opt to disable encryption for individual applications.

An increasing amount of corporate information is being stored on handheld devices, and companies are struggling to find ways to protect the data, says Burton Group analyst James Kobielus. But there are few options, he says. Companies can prohibit storage of any corporate data on handhelds or severely limit the amount stored. "Neither of these options are very practical; these types of restrictions are a fruitless cause," he adds. "Certicom is well-positioned in the wireless security space to successfully launch a product like this."

MovianCrypt is available now. Pricing for individual seat starts at $39.95. Site licenses begin at 10 seats and are available with annual subscriptions. MovianCrypt is compatible with Palm devices running Palm OS 3.0 and higher, as well as Handspring Visors with Palm OS 3.1 and above.

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