VeriSign Inc. Monday announced it has
won U.S. government approval to expand the sale of 128-bit digital
certificates to a number of new customers.
Verisign said it will now be able to offer its Global Server ID digital
certificates to online merchants, health care and insurance organizations
and overseas subsidiaries of United States corporations.
The certificates are installed on Web servers to establish a 128-bit Secure
Sockets Layer session. While export versions of browsers are normally only
capable of 40-bit encryption, a Web site using a Global Server ID enables
these browsers to use 128-bit encryption.
VeriSign said the availability of Global Server IDs will dramatically
improve an organization’s ability to conduct secure online commerce without
providing specialized software to end users or submitting to key escrow
programs and government approval.
“The U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to grant VeriSign approval to
broadly issue the 128-bit Web site certificates enables a quantum leap in
the use of the Internet for secure communications and e-commerce,” said
Stratton Sclavos, VeriSign’s president and chief executive officer.
Before it issues a company a Global Server ID, VeriSign authenticates the
company’s existence and ensures it has the right to use its domain name. It
also ensures that the government has already granted an organization the
right to receive the IDs.
Global Server IDs start at $895 a year and are available on a variety of
Web server platforms.