PGP goes back to its roots

v8.0 upgrades

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

PGP Corp this week delivered its first set of product upgrades since the company was spun out of Network Associates Inc this August, and delivered on its promise to publish the source code to the pioneering cryptography software,

writes Kevin Murphy

.

PGP sees 8.0 releases in its Desktop, Personal, Freeware and Enterprise edition, and offers support for Windows XP and Max OS X for the first time. The enterprise tools have been beefed up to feature better directory integration and configuration management.

The company is making its source code "available for peer review". The idea is to ensure buyers can trust that there are no accidental or deliberate vulnerabilities or back doors in the product, as some of the more excitable members of the crypto community suspected when NAI stopped publishing the code at the end of 2000.

"We said at the same time we release products we will release the source code to PGP, because of the way Network Associates approached releasing code," said PGP's director of products Stephan Somogyi. "There was quite a bit of speculation on whether there were issues or vulnerabilities in the source code."

In October 2001, NAI rolled some PGP products into its McAfee division, discontinued the rest, and started looking for a buyer. PGP's old management, backed by $14m of venture capital, stepped in to take over the company in August.

PGP Corp is "very confident in the quality of the code" Somogyi said. The compiled software will be signed against the source to show it hasn't been tampered with. Somogyi said that the source code license will not allow derivative works to be created. It's a read-only license aimed primarily at giving users confidence.

New in the 8.0 range is a Personal edition, which includes PGP Mail and PGP Disk for email and document encryption and, with a $39 price tag, is aimed at individual commercial users. A Freeware edition is available for non-commercial use, a release Somogyi characterizes as another PGP tradition the company has restored.

PGP Desktop now features better integration with Active Directory, iPlanet Directory Server, Novell NDS, OpenLDAP Keyserver, Novell Groupwise 5.5 and 6.0. The Enterprise version allows mass configuration and deployment and a configuration server for updates to already-deployed desktops.

The Enterprise version also allows additional decryption key (ADK) features, to allow systems administrators to decrypt PGP-encrypted messages using a secondary master key. This is useful for certain regulated industries such as financial services, where companies are legally obliged to archive emails.

"We have features to make sure the ADK is not abused," Somogyi said. The Enterprise edition has an ADK-splitter feature, so the skeleton key can be split into pieces in the possession of several trusted employees, so no one person can abuse the key or be coerced into revealing it, and reassembled from a subset of those pieces.

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