The Commerce Depart




Techno-Boost for International Commerce

The Department of Commerce granted permission to Netscape and Microsoft to export software for international banking transactions that is more secure than previous versions. The government had been concerned that overly powerful encryption software could pose a threat to national security. The newly approved 128-bit encryption software is seen as necessary to keep transactions secure from hackers with sophisticated mainframes. In fact, as part of a contest organized by a data security company, some programmers broke a 56-bit code with an ordinary Pentium personal computer this is like breaking into a bank vault with a hammer. Each bit doubles the encoding power, so the level of complexity between 40 bits the old standard and 128 bits is astronomical.

Supporters of the governments decision see it as a boon to international trade, with bankers worldwide able to transmit financial data securely. Mark Eckman, CPA, chairman of the American Institute of CPAs information technology research subcommittee, also sees the decision as an advance. "However, the real key to acceptance of electronic commerce is not in the technology but, rather, in the mind-set of the users," he said. "When they feel the need to use the technology, they will begin to use the technology. The use of 128-bit keys will help, but it is not a driver to the use of the technology."



SPONSORED REPORT

CPEOs provide peace of mind around payroll services

The creation of these new IRS-certified service providers for small businesses clarifies some issues around traditional professional employer organizations.

QUIZ

8 sentences to help you master subject-verb agreement

When professionals prepare written material for readers inside their organization or outside, they should make sure that no errors distract from the message they need to convey. Take this short quiz for practice in subject-verb agreement.