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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

PKWare Inc, the provider of Zip compression software, will today announce that it has added encryption functions, previously only available on its Windows product, to its entire line of PKZip applications in version 6.0.

The company has licensed RSA Security Inc's BSAFE cryptography toolkit for the Windows and Unix versions, and will use it in its big-iron products in later versions. RSA has also developed software incorporating Zip compression, to be announced next month.

PKWare chief marketing officer Steve Crawford said the company is positioning PKZip, available for Windows, Unix, OS/400 and MVS, as a simple alternative to complex PKI deployments, for organizations wanting to securely transfer compressed files.

By adding compression, users can reduce much of the fat that is added when a file is encrypted. Crawford said that "on average, you tend to get a net reduction in file size" when you size a large encrypted file, but it depends on the file type.

The addition of BSAFE means, Crawford added, that users can send compressed and encrypted files to recipients who will use their PKI certificates to decrypt, and also to non-PKI users, who will decrypt using a password delivered separately.

"We're bridging the divide between the PKI haves and have-nots," Crawford said. He said that a free PKZip reader is available for Windows users that do not have the full PKZip application installed.

Also new in the 6.0 products is support for BZIP2, the latest Zip method, which is better at compressing certain types of file, such as XML documents. The products now also can plug into Lotus Notes email clients, as well as Outlook.

© ComputerWIer

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