Industry Embraces Microsoft’s Internet Digital Signature Initiative

SAN FRANCISCO, March 12, 1996 — More than 40 companies today announced support for Microsoft Corp.’s initiative to allow customers to validate the identity and integrity of software downloaded over the Internet. Using industry-standard digital signature and certificate formats, a user can ensure that a piece of software has not been tampered with or modified, and also can uniquely identify the publisher. This reassures the user of the source of the software and protects against the spread of malicious code over the Internet as Web pages incorporate more active software.

“Being able to identify software under this program is critical to the growth of the Internet,”
said Philippe Kahn, co-founder and chairman of Starfish Software Inc.
“It will significantly reduce fraud and virus propagation.”

Digital Signature Authentication Infrastructure

VeriSign Inc. and GTE will provide the underlying infrastructure for the digital signature program. Under the program, developers obtain digital certificates that verify who they are. Then, using cryptographic techniques, they apply them to the code. Developers are free to use any development tool to create programs, then add their digital signatures before releasing the program to the Internet. VeriSign and Microsoft have been working on a proposal to create a set of policies for identifying software developers and the accompanying formats of the digital certificates and signatures.

Code authentication is an exciting new application for digital signatures and Digital ID
™s, which will ensure the source and the integrity of downloadable software,”
said Stratton Sclavos, president and CEO of VeriSign Inc.
“We are pleased to have worked with Microsoft on this initiative to define an open industry model for securing software distribution.”

Open Industry Standard

The digital signature proposal provides support for several industry standard techniques including X509 certificates and PKCS #7 signature blocks.
“The World Wide Web Consortium encourages the introduction of digital signatures to provide assurances of authenticity of documents on the Web,”
said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C director.
“This is clearly of great importance for executable code on the Web. We will be working toward a common system for signed code and registration of signatories.”

Microsoft is working with W3C to make this an open, cross-platform standard. With this program, all languages (such as the Microsoft® Visual Basic®
programming system, the
Visual C++®
development system set and Java ) will be supported and all applications will be able to use the authentication services available on ActiveX
. A program overview, proposed specifications and tools were published at the Professional Development Conference – Building Internet Applications this week in San Francisco.

Strong Industry Support

Many vendors have stepped forward to support the digital signature proposal. Vendors of ActiveX Controls (formerly called OLE Controls), vendors of shrink-wrapped software, and standards bodies all recognize the need for an industry-standard digital signature initiative.

“One of the challenges to providers of high-performance, enhanced components for the Internet is to ensure the integrity of those components as they get distributed over the Internet,”
said Bob Wolf, president of Sheridan Software Systems Inc.
“We at Sheridan are therefore very excited about Microsoft’s initiative to ensure security and integrity through digital signing. We plan to make digital signing an integral part of all our future enhanced-component products for the Internet.”

“Corel Corp. encourages the acceptance of and is planning to support the Microsoft digital signature initiative as an industry standard for the purpose of facilitating the authentication of executable code transferred over local networks and the Internet,”
said Eid Eid, vice president of software at Corel Corp.

“The code-signing initiative proposed by Microsoft is an important step that will help grow the component software industry,”
said Frank Grossman, president of NuMega Technologies Inc.
“We will be supporting this with our error detection and advanced debugging tools for Windows® .”

Leading software vendors – including 3D/EYE Inc., ACI US Inc., Attachmate Corp., Black Diamond, Blue Sky Software Corp., Centerview Software, Cerebral Systems Development Corp., CheckMaster Corp., Commerce Direct International Inc., Comshare, Corel, Desaware, Diamond Head Software, Dolphin Systems Inc., FTP Software, GTE, hip communications inc., InContext, Lernout & Hauspie, MicroHelp, MTX International Inc., Ncompass, NetManage Inc., NuMega, OpenMap Software, Outrider Systems Inc., Parijat Controlware Inc., Pinnacle Publishing Inc., ProtoView Development Corp., Sax Software, Sheridan Software Systems, Stac Inc., Starfish Software, Stylus Innovations, Summit Software Co., Sylvan Ascent Inc., Template Graphics Software Inc., Thuridion, VantagePoint Software, VBExtras, VeriSign, Wall Data, Wayfarer Communications and Wonderware Corp. – are planning to sign their software or are providing tools to sign software.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Visual Basic, Visual C++, ActiveX and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Digital ID is a trademark of VeriSign Inc.

Webber is a trademark of Cerebral Systems Development Corp.

CyberTrust is a trademark and CyberTrust Virtual CA is a service mark of GTE Corp.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft home page at To receive Microsoft press releases by fax, please call (800) 859-5915 in the United States or (201) 333-0314 internationally.

Media Contact List

3D/EYE Inc. Larry Felser, [email protected], (607) 257-1381

ACI US Inc. Michele Mandry, (408) 252-4444

Attachmate Corp. Jerome Pache, [email protected], (206) 644-4010

Black Diamond Lyle Speirs, [email protected], (603) 964-7805

Blue Sky Software Corp. Marylin Guarino, [email protected], (619) 551-2485

Centerview Software Jennifer Kammeyer, (415) 512-0600

Cerebral Systems Development Corp. Stephen Owens, [email protected]

CheckMaster Corp. Bud Aaron, (619) 757-6635

Commerce Direct International Inc., Alison Clark, (847) 291-1616 ext. 256

Comshare / Ken Morse, [email protected]

Corel Eid Eid, (613) 728-8200

Desaware Dan Appleman, [email protected]

Diamond Head Software William Burke, [email protected], (214) 479-9205

Dolphin Systems Inc. Stephen Cramm, [email protected],
(905) 838-2896

FTP Software Jill LeBallister Dudka, [email protected], (508) 684-6458

GTE Charles Walton, [email protected]

hip communications inc. Dick Hardt , [email protected]

InContext Sal Sanci, [email protected]

Lernout & Hauspie Alan Presser, [email protected], (617) 932-4118, ext. 238

MicroHelp Sam Patterson, [email protected]

MTX International Inc. Michael Mullin, [email protected], (303) 790-1400

Ncompass Cindy Grauer, [email protected],
(604) 685-6303

NetManage Inc. Warren Smith, [email protected],
(408) 973-7171

NuMega Technologies Inc. Bob O’Brien,[email protected],
(603) 889-2386, ext. 1233, fax (603) 889-1135

OpenMap Software Adam Zais, (508) 264-9578

Outrider Systems Inc. Greg Kerr, [email protected], (713) 521-0486

Parijat Controlware Inc. [email protected], (713) 556-6900

Pinnacle Publishing Inc. Mark Chestnut, [email protected]

ProtoView Development Corp. Dean Guida, [email protected], (609) 655-5000

Sax Software Mike Sax, (503) 344-2235

Sheridan Software Systems Inc. Bob Wolf, [email protected], or Joe Dour, (516) 753-0985, ext. 101

Stac Inc. John Bromhead, [email protected]

Starfish Software Te Smith, [email protected], (408) 461-5899

Stylus Innovations Dave Krupinski, (617) 621-9545

Summit Software Co. Bill Fisher, [email protected],
(315) 445-9000, ext. 24

Sylvan Ascent Inc. Melinda Sedgeley, [email protected], (505) 986-8739

Template Graphics Software Inc. Robert Wiederman, [email protected],
(619) 457-5359

Thuridion Patrick D. Hendry, [email protected], (408) 439-6969,
fax (408) 439-6963

VantagePoint Software Lawrence Wilcox, (801) 292-5344

VBExtras Mike Schinkel, (770) 952-6356

VeriSign, Kelly M. Ryan, [email protected]

Wall Data / Miles Ulrich, [email protected], (206) 814-3654

Wayfarer Communications Ed Colby, [email protected],
(415) 903-1721

Wonderware Corp. Charlie Ross, [email protected],
(714) 453-6713

World Wide Web Consortium Tim Berners-Lee, [email protected], (617) 253-5702

Additional Quotes

Attachmate Corp.

We enthusiastically endorse Microsoft’s digital signature effort and intend to support it in our Emissary and EXTRA! Personal Client intranet products. This will help unleash a flood of new Internet applications and complement our vision of using the Internet as a secure front-end access method to corporate host transactions, data and objects.

– Larry Zito
Executive Vice President of Product
Attachmate Corp.

Cerebral Systems Development Corp.

Microsoft’s digital signature technology will provide a great foundation for the delivery of trusted software over the Internet. Since our Webber
authoring tools will enable people to easily incorporate component software from third parties, it’s a natural fit for us to be able to verify those components at the same time. Webber is also available electronically, and being able to verify that code will really help increase our customers’ confidence.

– Stephen Owens
Cerebral Systems Development Corp.

FTP Software Inc.

With more and more software available over the Internet today, initiatives such as this one are vital for the protection of customers’ data and the protection of intranets from malicious acts. FTP Software completely supports this effort and will be incorporating this technology in future product releases.

– Ted Hess

Technical Director, Network Business Unit

FTP Software Inc.


GTE CyberTrust
applauds Microsoft’s application of industry standard public key cryptographic techniques for trusted download of code products over the Internet. GTE intends to work with Microsoft to promote this program within the software industry and to provide certification authority technical support to users of the program. Use of CyberTrust high-assurance certification authority technology from GTE should provide users with a convenient, easy-to-use source of signed public key certificates. Use of the CyberTrust Virtual CAsm service can also provide real ease-of-use advantage to organizations with larger-scale certificate signing requirements.

– Charles Walton
Business Development Manager
GTE CyberTrust

hip communications inc.

Hip communications applauds Microsoft’s leadership in establishing a digital signature mechanism for executable code. hip will implement this technology where appropriate to facilitate the safe distribution of software components.

– Dick Hardt
hip communications inc.

Outrider Systems Inc.

The need for such a security mechanism is obvious. We feel that digital signing will provide our current and potential customers with the confidence they require to download and execute an exciting new generation of Internet applications.

– Jim Nech

President and CEO

Outrider Systems Inc.

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