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Crypto firms team on product bundling

Cryptographic security company nCipher is teaming up with user credentialing startup CoreStreet to sell technology that can supply digital credentials to millions of users over computer networks and disconnected "offline" environments.

The deal will bundle CoreStreet's Real Time Credential Validation Authority (RTC VA) with nCipher's nShield hardware security module (HSM), providing better protection for the cryptographic keys used to validate digital certificates.

CoreStreet's RTC VA software works with X.509 Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) deployments, allowing organisations to validate digital certificates in very large deployments of digital credentials. Technology developed by CoreStreet enables organisations to distribute lists of revoked certificates to hundreds of low-cost devices which, in turn, can validate certificates for hundreds of thousands or millions of certificate holders.

The CoreStreet technology promises to free PKI technology from networked environments and allow it to scale up to massive deployments, said Phil Libin, president of CoreStreet. 

"PKI-based authentication is expensive and cumbersome. Both [CoreStreet and nCipher] are focused on ways to do authentication checks very quickly, in real time, from wherever you are at very little cost," he added.

Under the terms of the agreement, CoreStreet will sell nCipher's HSM hardware along with its software. However, nCipher will not be sell CoreStreet's products.

"CoreStreet and nCipher have a set of tools that work together and have been tested, so its a low risk for customers," Libin said.

CoreStreet will continue to support HSMs made by other companies.

Both companies hope the partnership will help encourage the adoption of both nCipher and CoreStreet technology, especially in vertical markets such as government and healthcare, where large-scale deployments are common and security is at a premium.

With  nCipher's nShield product, which is FIPS 140-2 level 3 certified, protecting cryptographic keys, CoreStreet's technology can be marketed to governments looking to deploy PKI validation to hundreds of thousands or millions of individual, for use in domestic security or with national ID cards.

The bundled product is available immediately. Pricing is still being worked out, although customers can expect a discount when buying the products bundled together.

Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service

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