Certicom Licenses Elliptic Curve Cryptography to Avanza Technologies

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario–August 25, 2004–Certicom Corp. (TSX: CIC), the authority for strong, efficient cryptography, today announced it has licensed Security Builder Crypto 4.0, its cross-platform cryptographic toolkit, to Avanza Technologies to build Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) into its secure identity management product, It’sM*iMail. Avanza’s product generates an email address that looks and acts like a standard email address but is encrypted with security features that dictate user identification and privileges. Avanza needed the strength of ECC to provide authentication and key exchange, and the small key size to make it all fit.

It’sM*iMail fights spam and viruses by creating a non-transferable email address that prevents others from using an email address without the owner’s authority. The Avanza framework gives the email creator control over who can read the message, who can respond to it and how long the address remains valid.

For Avanza, Security Builder Crypto and its optimized ECC implementations was the obvious choice for its cryptography. First, Avanza needed a cyptosystem small enough to fit into an email address. Second, the ECC implementation had to be flexible enough to work on a number of different platforms, including Pocket PC, Linux and Microsoft Win32. Third, Avanza’s customer-data protection technology required a cryptographic framework robust and efficient enough to process hundreds of thousands of key pairs in conjunction with a real-time customer database to prevent theft of customer information. Finally, Avanza needed the confidence that the public-key scheme used would remain viable for the life of a potential email address — potentially for many years.

“The email address would be unwieldy if we used any other public-key technology,” said Philippe Richard, VP-Technology at Avanza, when asked why he chose ECC. “With ECC we get small key sizes which means we can express a crypto strength stronger than those used by even the most security-conscious Internet transaction sites. We chose Certicom because they had the right technology, the right expertise and the right patents.”

Certicom is a pioneer in researching and developing ECC, which provides the highest strength-per-bit of any known public-key today. In 1997, the company developed the industry’s first toolkit to include ECC. Security Builder Crypto is optimized for size and performance on over 30 platforms and includes strong, efficient ECC implementations. Last year, the National Security Agency (NSA) purchased extensive licensing rights to Certicom’s ECC-based intellectual property, validating ECC as a strong public-key technology and spurring adoption by other companies.

“Avanza’s secure identity product is another example of an application where the need for a small key size sets ECC above other public-key cryptosystems. ECC’s efficient size makes it ideal for resource-constrained environments or for applications where speed is important,” said Ian McKinnon, president and CEO at Certicom. “Avanza’s solution offers a powerful value proposition: it protects users from unwanted email while being easy to use and adaptable across a number of platforms.”

About Avanza
Avanza Technologies is a software company that specializes in the design of innovative context-based identity and privacy solutions. Avanza’s It’sM*iMail(TM) product line uses patent-pending technology and Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) to deliver unprecedented owner-controlled email addresses embedded with non-transferable public keys that can only be used by the intended recipient. The resulting Managed*Identity(TM) easily enables users to securely communicate via email by providing unique identity-based interactions. Give it a try at testdrive.itsmimail.com or visit www.avanzatech.com.

About Certicom
Certicom Corp. (TSX:CIC) is the authority for strong, efficient cryptography required by software vendors and device manufacturers to embed security in their products. Adopted by the US Government’s National Security Agency (NSA), Certicom technologies for Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) provide the most security per bit of any known public key scheme, making it ideal for constrained environments. Certicom products and services are currently licensed to more than 300 customers including Motorola, Oracle, Research In Motion, Terayon, Texas Instruments and XM Radio. Founded in 1985, Certicom is headquartered in Mississauga, ON, Canada, with offices in Ottawa, ON; Reston, VA; San Mateo, CA; and London, England. Visit www.certicom.com.

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