RSA traditionally had licensed only its BSAFE encryption technology, which can cost customers tens of thousands of dollars, but company officials say the timing is right to give developers easier access to tools for building more security features into applications from the ground up, rather than tacking them on later. The new Share Project is an online community for developers that provides support, information, and free downloads of RSA's encryption toolkits for C/C++ and Java. The company plans to offer more free security tools under the program, as well.
"People want more secure products, not more security products," says Tom Corn, vice president for product marketing at RSA. "This is an information security ecosystem."
And to generate a little buzz around its new open community, RSA also announced a $10,000 prize for the developer who comes up with the most creative and practical use of its BSAFE encryption in a Web-based application. The contest runs until May 20; RSA is accepting entries on the RSA Share Project community Website.
The BSAFE Share toolkits are interoperable with existing products based on BSAFE encryption, which span various types of applications, from browsers to gaming systems. RSA says the idea is to spread the technology to smaller application developers and to organizations that want to build security into their internal apps. "This will get to a broader audience of people building the next generation of products," Corn says. "We think it addresses a void between the traditional market for BSAFE and the open source community."
This doesn't mean RSA is making any moves out of the encryption business. RSA will continue licensing its FIPS 140-based version of BSAFE, and Corn says the free tools are an example of RSA doing even more with encryption.
"There are a lot of really tough problems in encryption, and it continues to be a big market for us in key management, for example, and sharing encrypted data across multiple applications," he says.
Built-in encryption is one piece of the broader goal of writing more secure applications, with such high-profile industry efforts as BSIMM, OpenSAMM, Homeland Security's Build Security In, and Microsoft's Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) getting large organizations' attention. RSA plans to collaborate with some of these secure coding efforts, as well, Corn says.
"We view the Share Project as part of the same secure coding issue," Corn says. "But it's bigger than just encryption -- encryption is a part of building more secure applications."
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