Navy secures supply lines

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"How PKI works"

The Naval Supply Systems Command — which manages contracts for more than

$5 billion worth of equipment, supplies and services for Navy and Marine

Corps units around the world — has tapped nCipher Corp. to help secure its

online transactions.

The company's technology validates the digital certificates that are

the under-pinnings of a public-key infrastructure system. In PKI, digital

certificates authenticate, or verify, the identities of the parties involved

in an online transaction, providing them with access to software keys that

encrypt and decrypt transactions.

Through a contract with nCipher, the Navy began deploying the company's

Valicert certificate validation technology to the Navy Supply Systems Command's

regional Fleet Industrial Support Centers (FISCs) around the world.

Once installed, the nCipher systems will allow Navsup commands to run

cryptographic modules for safeguarding signing keys that comply with congressionally

mandated Federal Information Processing Standard 140-1 Level 2 validation.

The deal also positions the Navy command to take advantage of a Defense

Department initiative to use PKI to authenticate the identity of users on

its networks as well as to secure information flowing across those networks.

"It lays the infrastructure to validate DOD certificates, as well as

other cross-certified PKIs...and also addresses larger security issues such

as those that will be handled through initiatives such as the Navy/Marine

Corps Intranet," said Dan Turissini, vice president of operations at Operational

Resource Consultants, the vendor directly responsible for installing the

systems at the Navy commands.

Once fully deployed, the systems will support the six Navsup FISCs located

at Pearl Harbor; Puget Sound; Norfolk, Va.; Jacksonville, Fla.; San Diego;

and Yokosuka, Japan; and at installations in Philadelphia and Mechanicsburg,

Pa.

Central to the Navsup initiative is the company's nForce product, which

"establishes a highly secure environment for the protection of the private

keys that lie at the heart of every PKI application and dramatically increases

the speed with which individual transactions are processed," said Stu Vaeth,

director of product management at nCipher.

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