NSA doing wireless crypto pilot

As part of its Cryptographic Modernization Initiative, the National Security Agency (NSA) recently began a pilot project designed to secure top-secret wireless communications using a solution from Certicom Corp.

The pilot project, which began late last year, will result in new cryptographic technology that will be integrated and used to secure top-secret government communications without compromising network speed and performance, according to Certicom.

"These top-secret communications clearly must be protected by technology that goes well beyond off-the-shelf cryptography," according to a company spokeswoman. "Certicom is one of only a few companies that has the expertise to do this work."

The contract's terms were undisclosed, but the deal was facilitated through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), Canada's export contracting agency. Acting as prime contractor, the CCC assessed Certicom and worked with NSA on a government-to-government basis, providing a Canadian government-backed guarantee of contract performance on this project.

The Communications Security Establishment, Canada's cryptologic agency, likely will use the same security tools for the protection of sensitive information within Canada's government, as part of its Canadian Cryptographic Modernization Project, according to the Mississauga, Ontario-based company.

Certicom also has offices in Ottawa, Ontario; Herndon, Va.; San Mateo, Calif.; and London.

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