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Zip makes file compression more secure

A security-led version of the popular Zip compression technology aims to extend the tool into the business market.

Zip developer PKWare has added encryption and centralised management to SecureZip, so documents can be protected and compressed at the same time with a sysadmin able to define variables from one location. At present, the program is solely for Windows desktops but Unix, Linux are in the wings and a server version is in beta.

Security became PKWare’s new focus after it acquired PKZip vendor Ascent in 2002, the idea being to marry compression and password-based encryption and make them both centrally manageable.

Now, in addition to its own encryption capability based on passwords, SecureZip can integrate with LDAP directories and support PKI certificate-based encryption.

PKWare chief operating officer and president Tim Kennedy said this means companies can opt for a passwords-only policy or combine passwords and certificates. PKWare has also included "the capability for administrative policy lockdowns", so, for example, the need for both a password and certificate to open encrypted files can be enforced across an organisation. Similarly, policies can be set for certain groups of files.

SecureZip for Windows is licensed per user, and the basic package costs £65, while LDAP directory integration and the central lockdown feature takes it up to £90.

Kennedy sees PGP as the primary competitor in the enterprise security space. His sales arguments are that PGP’s technology is proprietary while "most companies want standard-based products", and that most desktop users are already familiar with Zip.

Rik Turner writes for Techworld.com


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