[ISN] Startup Aims To Encrypt All Web Traffic

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 02:23:30 PDT

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    by Will Wade
    April 18, 2001
    SAN FRANCISCO - A security system startup venture has taken the wraps
    off a new type of encryption-processing scheme that it claims can
    increase performance over competing technologies by as much as
    As a result, Andes Networks Inc. expects to see the cost of
    implementing security features fall so low, so fast, that all traffic
    over the public Internet could be encrypted within a few years.
    The company has focused on the secure sockets layer (SSL) format,
    which has become a de facto standard for Web traffic. Although it is
    not often used for full encryption and authentication operations, SSL
    is built into every Web browser and is therefore available to anybody
    using the Internet.
    Andes announced recently at the RSA Conference 2001 that it is
    sampling an SSL accelerator system, a box designed to sit in Internet
    data centers and whose sole function is to decode encrypted traffic as
    it comes in, and add encryption to traffic on the way out. It is
    scheduled to begin commercial shipments next quarter.
    "Our system is the first commercial implementation of a new-generation
    technology, which redefines the standards of SSL processing," said
    Paul Gordon, president and chief executive officer of Andes, Mountain
    View, Calif.
    While current systems may perform anywhere from 200 to 1,500 RSA
    operations/second, which is the basic function of decryption traffic
    based on the industry-standard RSA algorithms, Gordon said Andes'
    system can do 15,000 RSA operations every second.
    In addition, he said the crop of systems can support handshakes with
    up to 750 new SSL clients per second, while the Andes version handles
    5,000 such transactions.
    Although SSL is deployed all through the Internet, it is not widely
    used. Gordon estimated that only about 6 to 7 percent of Internet
    traffic is encrypted, usually e-commerce and other financial
    A big part of the reason for this is speed: According to some
    estimates, it can take as much as 50 times longer to send an
    SSL-encrypted data stream from one computer than to send non-encrypted
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