Australian-made encryption goes 168-bit

Melbourne-based security software firm XCP Security Systems has released to market an Australian-developed 168-bit key encryption tool.

Developed in conjunction with Wollongong University's Centre of Computer Security Research, the encryption software -- called Hydra - was written to the international data encryption standard (DES) 46-2.

Overcoming the hurdles of US export regulations regarding encryption software by its local development, Hydra is the highest level DES tool commercially available in Australia, XCP Security Systems claims.

"We were constantly being told by some of our customers that the 56-bit encryption was not strong enough. As most of our products came from North America, it is difficult if not at times impossible to import higher levels of encryption," said Andrew Bugal from XCP Security Systems. The company then approached Wollongong University "to determine whether it was possible to write a high-level encryption primitive to published standards", Bugal said.

Although software supporting a higher level of encryption is possible, Bugal said, 168-bit encryption is generally the highest a PC can handle before slowing down.

Hydra can be shipped with its source code, enabling the product to be customised to user requirements. It runs on Windows 95/98, NT, Solaris, Mac and Red Hat Linux.

Pricing for Hydra depends on configuration, contact XCP Security Systems, phone: (03) 9550 0835.