[ISN] End-to-end security for data delivery

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sun Apr 11 1999 - 04:12:38 PDT

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    End-to-end security for data delivery
    Network World Fusion, 04/08/99
     WALTHAM, MASS. - A start-up has developed a server for encrypting Adobe
    Portable Format (PDF) files in such a way that users cannot recover the
    key used for decryption and are limited as to what they can do with the
    secured document. 
     Authentica says outfitting PDF documents with a public-key system can
    help companies ensure that sensitive information remains private, even if
    shipped as attachments across the Internet. Its PageVault Key Server lets
    users control who can read not just entire documents, but specific pages
    within a document, as well. 
     "You cannot secure the network if information is leaving," says Lance
    Urbas, president and CEO of Authentica. "You have to secure the
    information. You also need to protect the keys, not the locks." 
     Authentica integrates with Adobe's Acrobat Exchange tool to let users
    create and encrypt documents. Users can set which pages are viewable, by
    whom and for how long.  PageVault stores and protects the one unique key
    for each page in a given PDF file using 128-bit encryption. Communication
    between the server and the client is also encrypted using Secure Sockets
     Urbas says that by protecting the keys used to encrypt the document, the
    original can be stored anywhere in its encrypted format since 128-bit
    encryption is virtually uncrackable. Since the keys are held at a single
    point, the U.S. government allows the 128-bit encryption technology to be
    exported to any nation except the seven nations that the U.S. believes
    support terrorism. 
     Encrypted documents are downloaded and decrypted one page at a time. 
    Users cannot print or screen dump the document unless authorized-nor can
    they capture the keys used in the decryption process, Urbas says. 
     Those wishing to read encrypted documents must use Exchange and an
    Authentica plug-in because Adobe Reader has not yet been fitted with the
    necessary add-ons.  Encryption adds an extra 700 bytes to each page making
    the system suitable for dial-up users, Urbas says. 
     Tim Evans, a consultant working for DuPont, says PageVault is quite easy
    to install and administer. However, he says one problem was getting his
    users to understand how a public-key system works. 
     "Users have to be able to get and install a digital certificate for their
    browser, then export that certificate back to the PageVault server," Evans
    says. He stressed that this is not a problem with PageVault, more a
    general lack of knowledge regarding PKI. 
     The PageVault Key Server is available for Sun Solaris 2.5.x or greater
    and Windows NT 4.0 with service pack three installed. Clients require
    Acrobat Exchange 3.01 or greater on Windows 95/98, Windows NT 4.0, or
    MacOS 7.6 or later. Pricing for the server starts at $13,995 for a
    100-user license. 
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