Cylink Corp., a specialist in encryption security for data networks, announced the introduction last week of a smart card reader, PrivateSafe+.
The device connects between a personal computer and its keyboard and enables the use of digital signatures for cardholder authentication. Availability is scheduled for June at $80 for the reader and $25 for each card, with volume discounts bringing those prices as low as $50 and $10, respectively.
Cylink said the system is based on the Siemens SLE 44, with generation of private-key and signature operations performed on the smart card chip and remote from the PC that might be vulnerable to attack.
"Smart card usage has proliferated outside the United States due to the low cost of implementation and ease of use and installation," said John Kalb, Cylink's vice president of business development. "Today Cylink introduces a solution to the North American market that makes it easy for companies and consumers to take advantage of the benefits of smart cards for electronic commerce."
Cylink pointed out that its founder, Jim Omura, worked on early prototypes of smart cards. Its subsidiary, Algorithmic Research, has 11 million users of its smart card security systems.
Separately, Cylink introduced CryptoKit+, a developer tool set that is designed for simple and flexible implementation of data encryption using the Diffie-Hellman standard algorithms and private keys up to 2,048 bits long.
"Companies have been frustrated by promises from vendors to deliver products that enable them to use cryptographic solutions, including smart cards, for secure electronic commerce," Mr. Kalb said. Cylink is delivering "what other companies have been talking about for years."