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Spyrus Acquires Brisbane PKI Developer

Spyrus, a security and e-commerce vendor from California, just acquired Signet Systems, an Australian cryptography developer specialising in digital certificates.

The two companies had been working together on several projects for more than three years, with clients including governments and the United Nations, but Signet will now be integrated under the Spyrus banner.

Spyrus is perhaps best known as one of the handful of vendors that were approved to sell software that has been certified as compliant with the Secure Electronic Transactions (SET) e-commerce standard. The company also sells smart cards, encryption software, security tokens, and other security software.

Signet provides software made to allow a company to become a certification authority (CA), a vital building block in the construction of a public key infrastructure (PKI) that ensures that all parties in an electronic transaction trust each other. "With the addition of high-assurance PKI products from Signet, Spyrus can now provide a complete digital chain of trust for enterprise and government customers to manage their valued digital property," said Sue Pontius, president and CEO of Spyrus. "The scalable architecture of the PKI permits the adoption of almost any business and policy model to truly enable trusted global electronic commerce."

Signet had worked with the Australian defence industry, and also allied with KPMG as part of a global partnership with Spyrus. KPMG has now set itself up as the CA for an Australian Web site security service, called Site ID, which enhances the security of Web sites by sending digital certificates to Web users telling them that the site is operated by a legitimate company.

Stephen Wilson, senior manager of the KPMG CA, said that his company had been acting as a value-added sales channel for Spyrus, and that the acquisition would not change the situation, as Signet and Spyrus had been working together beforehand.

This acquisition follows last year's takover by Spyrus of Terisa Systems, which now acts as a wholly owned subsidiary in California. Financial details of the Signet acquisition were not disclosed; Spyrus is a privately held company.