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July 15, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:01pm

IBM READIES ENCRYPTION ON A CHIP FOR SECURE TRANSACTIONS

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has announced the beta version of a tamper-resistant encryption co-processor board combining hardware and software for including in servers, especially aimed at the forthcoming SET Secure Electronic Transaction-based market. The board, based around a CMOS processor, similar to that inside the company’s S/390 G4 mainframes, fits into a standard PCI slot. The 4758 PCI Cryptographic Co-Processor/Adapters, as it is known supports DES keys, RSA private keys and algorithms and is programmable for whatever level of encryption manufacturers require. IBM is not setting it up for one level or another because of the US export laws that bar the export of anything above 40-bits without a special license. All the cryptographic operations are performed within the boundaries of the adapter. The encryption is done at the application, rather than the IP level, which the company says it is more secure because it is closer to the valuables, that is, the application itself. The subsystem uses an 80486 processor with 4Mb Ram and 2Mbof flash memory. Additional security information that resets itself should the hardware be tampered with, is stored in RAM powered by a battery. The board will run under Windows NT, AIX and OS/2. As well as SET applications, IBM says it could be used for such things as beaming in-flight movies up to aircraft as passengers request them -a system that Sony Corp is currently building. IBM will sell the board under the SecureWay brand name for $2,000 each when it ships late next month.

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