GTE and Schlumberger Electronic Transactions today announced a strategic alliance for the development and marketing of security solutions for use with smart cards. The resulting products will combine the security features enabled by public key cryptography – digital certificates, digital signatures and data encryption – with the convenience and portability of smart cards.
Smart cards look like credit cards, but contain an embedded computer chip that provides processing power and memory for storing information. They can be used for such applications as network security, mobile telephone communications, electronic banking, retail shopping and much more. When used in conjunction with a password or personal identification number (PIN), smart cards are suitable where access control and data security are critical issues, such as in online banking. Digital certificates provide smart cards with a verifiable form of identification.
“Because of their portability and processing power, the new generation of smart cards allows secure, user-friendly applications to be conducted from almost anywhere. Smart cards will be used for such diverse activities as purchasing a cup of coffee or identifying oneself to a corporate network for remote access from any location,” said Tom Carty, vice president of Marketing and Business Development, GTE CyberTrust Solutions Incorporated. “Together, GTE and Schlumberger seek to deliver this kind of versatility along with the peace of mind that goes with secure transactions.”
“Reliable identification and establishing trust are the keys to the growth of online business activities and electronic commerce,” said Louis Bisasky, general manager of Schlumberger Smart Cards and Systems, North America. “Digital certificates provide identification suitable for this environment, and smart cards, which are small, personal and portable, are the ideal place to store them.”
The two companies plan to integrate GTE’s CyberTrust(TM) digital certificates and Safekeyper(R) Certificate Management System with cryptographic smart cards from Schlumberger. Schlumberger’s Cryptoflex(TM) smart card, announced late last year, will be used in the initial product offering. It is a specialized smart card that supports cryptographic functions, such as digital signatures, as well as secure private key and digital certificate storage, which can be used to secure electronic mail and other communications.
GTE CyberTrust digital certificates provide electronic transactions with a verifiable form of identification and data integrity. Distributed by a trusted third party known as a Certification Authority (CA), digital certificates contain identifying information that cannot be forged or altered and a private encryption key unique to the certificate. Any information exchanged in a transaction is protected by encryption and a digital signature.
The GTE Safekeyper Certificate Management System (CMS) is a fully integrated family of products that provides high-assurance security to create, issue, renew, validate and revoke digital certificates. Developed by BBN, a wholly owned subsidiary of GTE, Safekeyper CMS is designed around a flexible, distributed highly secure architecture and provides all the elements required to manage an effective public key infrastructure.
Using a smart card is similar to using a bank ATM card. The card is inserted into a special reader that interfaces with the embedded chip, and the user enters a password or PIN. As long as the card is in the reader, the user can log into his or her corporate network, access files, open private documents, send encrypted messages, and update the information contained in the smart card.
With revenues of more than $21 billion in 1996, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. In the United States, GTE offers local and wireless service in 29 states and long-distance service in all 50 states. GTE was the first among its peers to offer “one-stop shopping” for local, long-distance and Internet access services. Outside the United States, where GTE has operated for more than 40 years, the company serves approximately 7 million customers. GTE is also a leader in government and defense communications systems and equipment, directories and telecommunications-based information services, and aircraft-passenger telecommunications. Additional information about GTE can be found on the Internet at [http://www.gte.com.]
About Schlumberger Electronic Transactions
The Schlumberger Electronic Transactions group of Schlumberger, Ltd. (NYSE:SLB) is the world’s largest supplier of cards, terminals, development tools and management systems across the entire range of magnetic and smart card applications. The company offers its customers The Smart Village(R), a flexible portfolio of smart card-based solutions for businesses and communities of all sizes, including the telecom, banking, retail, mass transit and parking, and healthcare sectors.
Schlumberger is a pioneer and leader in smart card technology, recently introducing Cyberflex(TM), the first ever smart card to use the Java(TM) card API from JavaSoft, and Cryptoflex(TM), the first smart card to support strong public key cryptography.
The North American operations of Schlumberger Electronic Transactions are headquartered in Moorestown, New Jersey. The company has its US-based research and development, marketing, and manufacturing operations in Austin, Texas, San Jose, Calif., Owings Mills, Md., and Chesapeake, Va. Additional information about Schlumberger Electronic Transactions can be found on the Internet at [http://www.slb.com/et.]