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Utimaco's PKI & PKA Technologies Selected for the ‘Reference Implementation’ of EEMA's Prestigious ‘pki Challenge’

Utimaco Safeware, European provider of professional security systems, has today announced its new pivotal role as the ‘reference implementation’ of EEMA’s (The European Forum for Electronic Business) prestigious ‘pki Challenge’ initiative, following Entrust’s recent decision to step down from this role. The pki Challenge (pkiC) project has been launched to ensure that different vendors’ PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and PKA (PKI-enabled Application) components are fully interoperable. All participants in this project will now be required to test their products remotely against Utimaco’s PKI technology in evaluations carried out by Consignia (previously UK Post), at their UK offices. The pki Challenge is further detailed on EEMA’s website at

The chief purpose of the pki Challenge is to ensure that e-business users are not restricted to a single vendor for the purchase of their PKI and PKA components, but rather will be able to obtain a ‘best of breed’ mixture of components from a variety of vendors with proven interoperability.

Said Jackie Groves, managing director of Utimaco Safeware Ltd., “This is an extremely important project to advance the general use of stringent information security measures such as PKI. We are very pleased that Utimaco’s technology has been acknowledged as a worthy standard for measuring the functionality of other PKI components.” She added, “The major benefit for Utimaco is that whilst all of the participants in pki Challenge will be able to prove interoperability with Utimaco, Utimaco will be able to prove interoperability with everyone.”

The concept for pki Challenge was first devised by Utimaco Safeware's Frank Jorissen in 1988, who also holds the position of EEMA vice chairman. In January 2000 the pkiC project was recognised as a significant step towards overcoming the business restraints of non-PKI-interoperability and it received full European Commission funding to go ahead with Frank Jorissen as ‘pkiC Co-ordinator’.

The first step of the project was to define the key areas that are believed to pose issues of interoperability. The next stage will be to select up to 25 vendors to take part in the actual testing operation. These organisations currently include the following companies (list is subject to change): Baltimore, Biodata, Certicom, Compaq, Conclusive, Consignia, CRYPTOMAThIC, Cylink, Datum, DigiNotar, Entrust, Gemplus, Isabel, iT_Security, NetSet, Privador, RSA, Safelayer, Secude, Secure Communications, Shym, SmartTrust, Spyrus, SSE, SSH, Tarmin/Lane Technologies, Uti Systems, Utimaco Safeware, ValiCert and VeriSign.

The decision to use the PKIX-compliant PKI and PKA technologies of Utimaco Safeware as the new basis for pkiC's reference implementation was given final confirmation by the European Commission last week. Utimaco Safeware, which has been developing PKI-based ICT Security solutions for ten years, is delighted that its PKI and PKA will now receive the international recognition associated with this selection.

This selection coincides with Utimaco's announcement of a major new release of its SafeGuard® PKI. SafeGuard® PKI version 2.5 adds a.o. CA hierarchies, a web front-end, qualified certificates and biometrics access control for both CA and RA components. This latest release offers scalable functionality to both midsize and enterprise organisations that require a flexible solution to support their security policies using PKI as the underlying infrastructure for enabling PKA. These PKAs could be Utimaco products such as SafeGuard® Sign&Crypt, other existing PKI-enabled applications or customised systems developed in-house by the user.

SafeGuard® PKI offers scalability, guarantees extensibility for future needs and interoperability with PKA and PKI of third parties. SafeGuard PKI 2.5 will become generally available in the fourth quarter of 2001.

About Utimaco

Utimaco Safeware AG is the leading European manufacturer of professional and certified ICT Security solutions. Utimaco Safeware develops and sells integrated security solutions based on established standards for Mobile/Desktop Security and for Internet Security. Utimaco Safeware’s "Digital Transaction Security" Competence Centre (DTS) builds on the e-business and crypto middleware expertise that has been gained since 1992. Utimaco's PKI has evolved from supporting Utimaco's PKI-enabled Applications ("PKA") into a full blown, open PKI product in its own right. Utimaco Safeware DTS serves customers in government, banking and industry worldwide.

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