Encryption Market Heats Up But PGP Still on Ice

    Date19 Jul 2002
    CategoryCryptography
    2957
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Demand is growing for desktop and wireless encryption but Network Associates (NAI) says it has no plans to resurrect its Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) range, despite requests from users. The IT security firm announced it was suspending the development of its. . . Demand is growing for desktop and wireless encryption but Network Associates (NAI) says it has no plans to resurrect its Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) range, despite requests from users. The IT security firm announced it was suspending the development of its PGP series of products last October. In March of this year, the company confirmed the software would enter 'maintenance mode' until a buyer was found.

    Despite reported discussions with several third-party firms, Infosecnews understands that no buyer has been found, with the result that the product range remains on ice. The PGP line includes PGP Corporate Desktop, PGPmail, PGPdisk, PGPwireless and PGPKeyserver, none of which will be developed further under NAI ownership.

    Commenting on the product development freeze, Jennifer Keavney, NAI's vice president, said that the situation remains the same. Despite the firm's lack of updates, other companies, most notably ArticSoft, CryptoHeaven and Standard Networks, are developing alternatives.

    Infosecnews notes that current PGP users can turn to programs like Information Security Corporation (ISC)'s trade-up offer, under which PGP users can buy a copy of the firm's multi-platform file encryption tool SecretAgent at a discount.

    According to Tom Venn, the firm's president, Network Associates' dissolution of its PGP operation has led to many organizations actively seeking a more lasting option for their file encryption needs. On top of the commercial offerings, there are now a number of free 'open source' alternatives, such as Gnu Privacy Guard.

    PGP's original creator, Phil Zimmerman, and former senior fellow at Network Associates, has called on his former employer to release the PGP source code if they have no intention of sustaining it. "I would strongly prefer PGP to be open source, compared with the current scenario, because right now it's locked in intellectual property prison and no one can get at it," he said.

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