New Tools Secure Java Phones, PDAs

Ntru Cryptosystems next week will roll out a new public-key toolkit for wireless devices running Java applications.

Ntru Cryptosystems Inc. next week will roll out a new public-key toolkit designed specifically for wireless devices running Java applications.

Known as Neo Java, the new product encrypts data during transfer and also provides user authentication. The application is less than five KB and is designed for constrained environments such as mobile phones and PDAs.

Java has become increasingly popular on mobile devices as more and more manufacturers add Web capabilities to their phones and PDAs. But security has been lacking because many of the devices arent capable of performing the necessary cryptographic operations, and the devices that do have enough memory and processing power to do so are quite expensive.

Ntru is hoping to change that with the small footprint and low processing requirements of Neo Java.

"The mobile Web hasnt succeeded in large part because there hasnt been a compelling user experience and security to go along with that," said Scott Crenshaw, CEO of Ntru, based in Burlington, Mass. "Java solves the former problem and Ntru is solving the latter one."

Neo Java is strictly software-based, but can be used in conjunction with a cryptographic co-processor if the device has one installed.

The company has been in contact with several mobile handset manufacturers about using the new software and also plans to sell it to developers.

Neo Java uses the Advanced Encryption Standard and can run on devices running the Palm OS 3.1 and later versions and also supports several Java environments, including J2ME (Java 2 MicroEdition) and J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition).

On the server side, the software runs on Windows, Solaris and Linux machines, Ntru officials said. Neo Java will be available June 24.

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