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October 15, 1998

ACTIVCARD ADDS SMARTCARD AUTHENTICATION

By CBR Staff Writer

French network authentication card company, ActivCard SA has launched into the corporate smartcard security market — still a sparsely inhabited place – with ActivCard Gold. The ActivCard Gold offering comprises server and client software, a smartcard, manufactured by Schlumberger SA and an optional smartcard reader – the card is PC/SC compliant and will therefore run with readers built into PCs from manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. Once installed users can either use it to access systems either via static passwords, dynamic passwords or can use it to store digital certificates. The card works with Computer Associates Unicenter TNG, Windows 95, 98 and NT. The Schlumberger Cryptographic card supports key lengths of 512b for the European market and 1024b for the US market and has 8kb of memory for storing up to three certificates on a single card. The company sees the card being used mainly to provide remote access to the corporate network and to digitally sign and encrypt e-mail messages. One stumbling block for the spread of smart cards as a means of providing security within a corporate network is price. ActivCard Gold server software will cost $2,000 for 25 users. The client software will cost $95 per user without a reader and $130 with a reader.

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