Originally published in the September 1995 issue of Internet World

RSA Data Security, the leading provider of digital encryption software, has spun off its certification division into a new company called VeriSign. Backed by Ameritech, Mitsubishi, and Visa International, among others, it will handle the distribution of Internet users’ digital IDs.

Like driver’s licenses, these can be used to prove identity, and VeriSign seeks to become “the DMV for the Information Superhighway.” Because RSA holds the patent on the cryptography technology underlying the two key encryption standards on the Web, Netscape’s SSL and Terisa Systems’ S-HTTP, VeriSign becomes the de facto digital ID registration company for the Internet.

“Within electronic commerce, VeriSign provides the trust that’s needed for cryptography,” said Webb Augustine, vice president of marketing and business development for the company. Netscape’s vice president of technology Marc Andreessen, added that “services such as VeriSign’s are the essential complement to the software solutions we provide customers for secure information exchanges and electronic commerce.”

Apple, Netscape, and Sun have announced that they will integrate digital IDs into their software offerings. According to Augustine, “our approach is that we’ll be glad to support anything that is a market standard.”

For more info, contact VeriSign at [email protected] or call (415) 508-1151.