Hewlett-Packard Co. released a new version of its Virtual Vault security software for Internet banking.

Version 2.0 of Virtual Vault, part of the computer company's Praesidium security line, integrates the latest version of Netscape's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Hewlett-Packard's OpenView network management software.

"In the version prior to this, customers could make sure they were talking to their bank," a process called server authentication, said director of banking programs Dennis Roman. "With version 2.0 we have introduced client authentication, an additional feature to protect the bank to make sure it is talking to its customer."

One of the first banks to begin using the new version is SE-Banken of Sweden in funds transfers, loan and bill payments, and securities transactions.

Additional U.S.-based institutions using or planning to use Virtual Vault include Wachovia Corp., Huntington Bancshares, and Security First Network Bank.

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