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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Microsoft, RSA, Sun And Encryption

Every day, business users and eventually consumers will be moving closer to storing more of their digital identities and authentication on smart cards and USB devices, even pass them through the air via Bluetooth protocols.  Microsoft, RSA Security and Sun Microsystems set the pace and tone of the coming generation of encryption with upgrades to their roadmaps, authentication tools and partnerships that will push more encryption into the wider business world.  Consumer-facing support for smart cards and two-factor authentication in more devices, from a smart card to a USB plug-in to Bluetooth support, aren’t far behind, either.  Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman, touted an updated roadmap for Active Directory and upcoming support for smart cards, which Microsoft calls “InfoCards” on the server side for customers as well as support for InfoCards in the next version of IE, currently in beta.

Active Directory is one of the most widely used technologies by Microsoft customers.

RSA Security then stepped up to advance the authentication ball with a bunch of partners that will build in its encryption software to more hardware devices, including USB, wireless and Flash memory cards.

And Sun announced its plans to integrate its Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) in its Java System Web Server 7.0, which is a big chunk of its Java Enterprise system.

In the past few years, smart cards have not taken off in the mainstream business world, but with three major technology players making moves to advance encryption into more devices, that’s changing.

Released to a new beta in late January, IE7 now includes support for an InfoCard for users to add authentication and encryption to Web-based transactions.  The roadmap includes expanded capabilities that customers will see in future versions of Windows Server, he said, which is still code-named “Longhorn.”

Posted on 02/14