Microsoft, VeriSign Lead Net Security Push

Microsoft, VeriSign and WebMethods have teamed up to tighten and speed security on the Internet using a new technology the companies propose as the next standard for peace of mind on the Web.

Called XKMS, the “key management specification” technology tool is designed to help programmers combine security measures such as data encryption and digital signatures with e-commerce applications. Its producers say XKMS will help Internet businesses streamline Web identity, online authentication, authorization, and payment services.

Based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), the accepted language of e-business exchange, the security technology was made available Wednesday as the companies submitted XKMS to Web standards bodies for consideration.

Security Now

XKMS analysts report that companies will be able to quickly finalize contracts and transactions over the Internet using electronic signatures with the new technology. Relying on encrypted formulas, digital signatures eliminate the need for a hand-written signature while ensuring a verified stamp of approval.

“Our new XML offerings, coupled with the XKMS specification released today with our partners Microsoft and WebMethods, further arm developers across a broad range of industries with the tools they need to quickly and easily develop and deploy trusted e-commerce applications,” said Anil Pereira, senior vice president and group general manager of VeriSign’s Enterprise Division.

Filling a Gap

The new technology, which manages digital keys in electronic signatures, is a welcome advance in the world of e-commerce and online security.

“As a leading contributor to and proponent of several encryption and PKI standards critical to the development of the information security industry, we applaud the efforts of VeriSign, Microsoft and WebMethods to propose a new standard for XML key management,” said Scott Schnell, senior vice president of marketing and corporate development at RSA Security, which plans to incorporate XKMS in future releases of its software.

Spreading Security

VeriSign, which also announced a new line of XML specifications on Wednesday, and rival Entrust have led the way in the use of digital signatures.

Seattle, Washington-based Microsoft and Virginia-based WebMethods, which assist in business-to-business marketplaces, have both sought to promote initiatives and technology advances in e-commerce security.

The new security standard unveiled Wednesday should bolster trust in e-commerce and further expand it through XML, said Jeremy Epstein, principal security architect at WebMethods.

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