Paralon offers encryption product

Paralon is offering a hardware encryption device that delivers government-approved Data Encryption Standard (DES) encryption services without requiring traditional key management. Paralon's PathKey system encrypts data in real time between two users by generating a one-time random key for each communication session. After the session is finished, the key is eliminated and not used again.

Defense and nondefense users—such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Federal Reserve Board, the FBI, the Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Administration, intelligence agencies and the U.S. Postal Service—have purchased the system, the company said.

Agencies are "under the gun to find secure solutions" for moving their sensitive but unclassified traffic, said Brian Allodi, director of business management at Paralon. "We offer both access control and encryption, and it's all automatically transparent from a key management standpoint."

The PathKey requires no key management because it generates a new key for each session without transmitting the key between the communicating PCs. A community of up to 500 users can communicate with one another using a PathKey solution. Each PathKey device is capable of storing up to 500 different IDs that correspond to 500 PathKey-equipped PCS. The PathKey Domain series can support unlimited users.

The PathKey device, which physically is about half the size of an external floppy drive, sits between a PC/Apple Computer Inc. Macintosh router or workstation and an external modem, or operates in conjunction with an internal modem. The PathKey automatically authenticates an incoming call before beginning a communication session.

"We're hearing that because of the slow adoption of Fortezza and, in particular, the slow development of the infrastructure to support it, a lot of people are coming around to the idea that they need the end result that Fortezza offers," Allodi said. "Because we're using DES, we offer something that government can use for sensitive but unclassified requirements."

The price of the PathKey device is $295 per user. The PathKey Domain series, targeted for enterprise dial-up security, is $425 per user.

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