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All Aboard! VeriSign SecureExpress

Verisign is taking its best shot at making sure that the e-mail message you send is only seen by the people you send it to.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based dot-com domain name registrar and digital security firm Friday launched SecureExpress, a third-party subscription-based service that uses "digital IDs."

Developed in partnership with Redwood City, Calif.-based Slam Dunk Networks and using parts of Tumbleweed Communications' technology, SecureExpress enables companies and individuals to send confidential communications quickly and securely over the Internet.

The technology is made secure by three layers including VeriSign's public key infrastructure (PKI) technology, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Secure Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) standards.

To use the service, customers simply sign up for a SecureExpress subscription by visiting the VeriSign Web site or by contacting the company. VeriSign then issues a digital certificate with a validated e-mail address to each subscriber.

The digital ID is used to sign and encrypt data sent through the SecureExpress service. The SecureExpress service acts as a third party to identify the holder of an e-mail address, assure the recipient that the message or document attached has not been tampered with, and facilitate the encryption and decryption of messages and documents.

VeriSign is offering two types of subscriber membership for the SecureExpress service: Full membership and receive-only membership.

Full membership allows subscribers to send and receive secure messages through SecureExpress. Receive-only membership allows subscribers to receive messages through SecureExpress.

Receive-only membership is free. Prices are based on the number of seats (users), which the company says represents only 20 percent of the costs of physical delivery systems while offering fast and guaranteed delivery.

"Sending and receiving confidential information and documents will always remain one of the most fundamental parts of doing business," says VeriSign Web Trust and Payments group senior vice president Ben Golub. "SecureExpress raises the level of confidence and trust businesses and individuals can have when sending critical information and documents in the digital world. In doing so, it enables businesses and consumers to reduce the costs and delays associated with traditional delivery services and employ technologies that provide far greater integrity and security for this digital form of delivery than what's available in the physical world."