Magazine article American Banker

Microsoft, Verisign to Work on Data Security Standard

Magazine article American Banker

Microsoft, Verisign to Work on Data Security Standard

Article excerpt

Verisign Inc., a pioneer in digital authentication technology, said it will collaborate with Microsoft Corp. on standards to ensure the security of Internet messages and transactions.

The companies said the use of digital signatures, which are Verisign's core product, will go a long way toward solving the data security problems that may hinder electronic commerce over open public networks.

As part of what they call the Digital Signature Initiative, Microsoft and Verisign have already drafted specifications and policies that they say can be adopted by software developers to ensure the integrity of information as it passes over on-line networks.

Separately, Verisign said it has set up a "digital signing" service for software developers. Verisign will act as an outsourcer to authenticate data for smaller software firms that cannot afford to create their own system for certification.

Verisign, which claims to be the only company "focused 100% on digital authentication," promotes an electronic verification technique that is analogous to the signature on a driver's license that may be presented at a point of sale. The receiver of a digital signature would be able to verify the identity of the originator of a message and be assured the message had not been tampered with.

Authentication is widely seen as the missing technology link in electronic transaction systems. Scott Smith, an analyst with Jupiter Communications Co. in New York, said "signatures and certification are almost more critical than encryption," the technique of scrambling data transmissions to prevent unauthorized access. …

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