Diversinet Joins Push for Wireless E-Commerce Security Standard

Online business security applications provider Diversinet Corp. (Nasdaq: DVNT) announced Tuesday that it has joined The Radicchio Initiative, an industry coalition that has been established to push public key infrastructure (PKI)-based wireless e-commerce security standards.

Diversinet, along with tech firms Giesecke & Devrient, Mitsui, Redknee, Schlumberger, TC TrustCenter, Texas Instruments and Thyron, will join the existing 28 Radicchio members to attempt to allay user fears and accomplish a number of other critical objectives.

“The vitality of the market hinges on consumer confidence that their personal information will not be compromised in any way,” commented Diversinet president and CEO Nagy Moustafa. “Radicchio is proof positive that the major players in the industry are working cooperatively to promote standards across the board, and we are proud to join this effort.”

PKI and the Wireless World

Radicchio was launched — with the support of Ericsson — in September 1999 by Sonera SmartTrust, Gemplus and EDS (Electronic Data Systems) to facilitate secure electronic transactions over wireless networks through the use of a PKI-based environment. PKI utilizes the power of cryptography, a data scrambling technology that experts feel is requisite for the security and integrity of e-commerce transactions.

According to Radicchio, there are currently more mobile phones in use than PCs, and some analysts predict that the market for mobile commerce will be worth $66 billion (US$) by 2003. Radicchio is actively working with certification authorities, device manufacturers, financial institutions, mobile operators and systems integrators to ensure that there will be a standard security platform to help meet the rising use of wireless transactions.

The initiative operates through the expansion of its membership and by acting as a consortium of wireless e-commerce companies to promote wireless e-commerce security-related legislation to government bodies and international regulators.

Radicchio recently held a conference to boost interest in its efforts, “Wireless E-Commerce — Clearing the Road for Global Expansion,” that focused on such topics as PKI-based security for online consumer banking, iMODE’s experience in Japan, and other PKI-related developments.

Secure as Traditional Transactions

According to security experts, the PKI utilized in traditional e-commerce is identical to that used for wireless transactions, with different software interfaces applied to the terminal equipment. The establishment of standards could accelerate both industry and consumer acceptance of wireless e-commerce.

“Diversinet recognizes that mobile e-commerce is the growth market of the future and that PKI is in place to resolve concerns about security,” stated Stefan Engel-Flechsig, Sonera SmartTrust’s Radicchio contact. “On a global scale, the Radicchio initiative is demonstrating to businesses, customers and governments that there are cryptographic infrastructures available today that make mobile e-commerce just as secure as traditional transactions.”

About Diversinet

Toronto, Canada-based Diversinet is a developer of PKI security products for wireless and wireline e-commerce applications. Diversinet’s Passport software, which includes authentication, digital certificates, permits and signatures, is designed for resource-constrained products, such as pagers, smart cards and wireless phones.

The company is a member of the WAP (wireless application protocol) Forum.

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