PGP Corporation on Monday announced a new way for Windows users to encrypt their entire hard drives. Previous versions of the company's popular encryption software could only scramble chunks of a hard drive -- basically, large files that are mounted as virtual drives after you type in the correct passphrase. Now Windows XP users can buy what the company is calling "PGP Whole Disk encryption," which is a cleaner way to preserve the confidentiality of data on, say, an external hard drive.
Toshiba Research Europe has used the science of quantum cryptography to transmit voice and video over a secure fiber link that is protected by the laws of physics. The demonstration is significant because it shows that the single-photon encryption technology is not only compatible with real Internet Protocol (IP) traffic but also robust enough for deployment on commercial fiber networks. The system was shown to financial institutions and government representatives in London last week by scientists working at Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Laboratory.
Quantum cryptography - long the stuff of cyberpunk novels and hi-tech spy stories - is leaving the laboratory and making its way into commercial markets. A briefing session at the UK's Department of Trade and Industry on Wednesday featured demonstrations of working quantum key exchange systems by QinetiQ, Toshiba Cambridge and US start-up MagiQ.
Quantum cryptography - using a private communication channel to lock down the exchange of sensitive data between two points has to date created much more discussion than it has practical applications.
The head of security at pharmaceuticals giant ICI has called for more businesses to encrypt their emails.
Paul Simmonds, one of the co-founders of security think tank The Jericho Forum, said that encryption would enable businesses to communicate with better levels of trust.
"It's available on every single email product," said Simmonds, global director of information security for ICI. "But nobody is using it. We need to talk it up on an industry level and get a critical mass on this."