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Voltage and Secure Email

July 8th, 2003 · No Comments

News.com writes about the launch of a new encryption mechanism by Voltage:

Voltage Security’s e-mail encryption system is a slight twist on the current practice of using a combination of security codes–one publicly available and one privately stored–to encrypt and decrypt messages. Using Voltage’s approach, the so-called public key is derived from the sender’s e-mail address, eliminating one step in the process, according to the company.

“You don’t have to go through the process of obtaining a security credential or certificate,” said Voltage CEO Sathvik Krishnamurthy.

Although the same security level can be reached using existing public key authentication systems, Voltage executives say the simplicity of their software could draw businesses that are interested in more secure e-mail but have been daunted by the work required to put such a system in place.

The result of Voltage’s efforts is a program that the company says eliminates the need for somebody to plan ahead before having an exchange of encrypted e-mail. Krishnamurthy said only the sender of an encrypted e-mail needs to have the company’s software. The recipient can then automatically decode the message while using Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora or even a BlackBerry handheld. A test version of software for IBM’s Lotus Notes software is also available.

Adds WSJ:

Voltage developed server software that authenticates users and generates private keys from users’ e-mail addresses or other information. It sends those keys to users that have a related piece of PC software, which is designed to spread rapidly.

An existing user could send a scrambled message to another person who had never used the technology. To unlock it, the recipient would click on a link in the e-mail to go to a site running Voltage’s server software, which would send the recipient the software to both read and create messages. In Microsoft Corp.’s popular Outlook mail program, Voltage’s PC software appears simply as a button labeled “send secure” that is next to the familiar “send” button on a message.

A bank or insurance company could use the technology to send out encrypted information to its users, Mr. Krishnamurthy notes. The company, which hasn’t disclosed pricing of its software, says it also can protect instant messages or even voice communications on the Internet. Users also don’t have to be connected to networks as often as most public-key systems, he says.

This would be useful to check out, considering our presence in the mail server business.

Tags: Software

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