Computer Sweden \ Nyheter nr 8 1998  
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Easy-to-use solutions hot at Security Show

The large computer companies are turning out easy-to-use security solutions. This was apparent at the RSA Data Security Conference, one of the worlds largest security conferences. The american crypto policy was also debated.
CS/San Francisco
One of the largest and most important computer security conferences - RSA Data Security Conference - was held in San Francisco during January 1998. Over 2500 people attended, mostly from the USA but also several international participants, among them some from Sweden. The next show is expected to draw 5000 attendees!
The well-organized trade show offered product demonstrations, panel debates, and a lot of lectures. Everything from encyption algorithms, electronic trade, to the political treatment of encryption was covered.

No change in US policy

When key deposit was debated it showed that the US governement still resists export of strong encryption. This is in spite of protests from all the large companies. Even BSA (yes, the pirate-copy-chasers) where there to hand out material against key deposit. Detlef Eckert from the European Union said that key deposit is not an issue in Europe, the governements seem to have realized the problems.

Large companies turn out security products

One of the most important impressions was that so many of the large companies where there, and they all showed serious development of security products. IBM, HP, Apple, Sun, Security Dynamics, and many more showed new products, and that they work hard to produce easy-to-use but secure solutions, either on their own or in cooperation with smaller companies.
One the more interesting subjects for lectures was encryption using elliptical curves, this is one of the newer methods. Using elliptical curves (FEE) is not fully tested yet, but there are already some products using it on the market.
Richard Crandall from Apple's encryption research program talked about chaos-dynamical encryption (CHAD) as a new possibility, and about Comcryption. A large number of different compression algorithms are used in Comcryption, and an eavesdropper does not know which compressor was used. The advantages are that the method is fast, and most of the time it results in a compressed file.

Buzzwords and products

Some of the most frequently used words was 'PKI' and 'CDSA'. PKI stands for Public Key Infrastructure, and almost all new products are based on use of public keys. CDSA is the name of Intel's security structure.
Några av de mest använd orden var "pki" och "cdsa". Pki står för Public Key Infrastructure vilket betyder offentlig nyckelstruktur, och nästan alla nya produkter bygger på användning av offentliga nycklar. Cdsa is the name of Intels security structure.
Many products are based on Java, and the Java-developers are working on making security functional and easy to use. JavaSoft presented a crypto-API. It is a framework for encryption, and you can plug in different algorithms - that is vary the encryption according to what different countries allow. Gemplus showed Java smartcards (SIM-cards), so soon we can have Java cards in the mobile telephone!
A large number of products where intended to check security, that is watch and alarm when breakins occur, also to encrypt network communications, and much of the software was supplied for Windows NT.
Other popular tasks where encryption of e-mail, usually by the new standard S/MIME. Counterpane Systems has recently presented a screen saver which decrypts S/MIME-messages, to show that common 40-bit S/MIME can be decrypted in just a few months on an ordinary PC.
Transactor presented a system for ownership of digital objects, for example weapons in games, which is an important function in multi-user games. ID Arts showed a new way of performing logins - by recognizing a face among many ( An interesting alternative to passwords for local logins!
Jan Lien
Computer Swedens hemsida

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