REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 9, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of a secure, end-to-end solution for worldwide online banking protected by 128-bit encryption technology.
More than 20 top international banks, including Bankers Trust Australia Ltd., Inverlat of Mexico and Wells Fargo, will use the Server Gated Crypto (SGC) solution to provide their customers with a secure online banking environment.
The solution, available for download on the World Wide Web at http://www.microsoft.com/industry/finserv/ , enables sessions between international banks and their customers to be protected by 128-bit encryption without key escrow, provided the banks also obtain a digital certificate.
“This means that international banks can build computer infrastructures based on the Microsoft® BackOffice® family that interoperate with a range of popular client software, including Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02, Internet Explorer 4.0, Microsoft Money 98 and Netscape Navigator 4.0, no matter where their customers might be,” said Mike Dusche, worldwide financial services industry manager at Microsoft.
Microsoft is working with VeriSign Inc. to enable it to become the first SGC Certificate Authority to issue the digital certificates to banks that have previously downloaded the solution from the Microsoft Web site.
Server Gated Crypto, an extension to the secure sockets layer (SSL) security protocol, provides a bank’s server with the ability to “switch on” 128-bit encryption if an SGC digital certificate is present. A separate SGC upgrade enables the client software to query the server for the presence of an SGC digital certificate during a digital “handshake” with the bank’s server. If the client software detects a digital certificate, the session is established using 128-bit encryption. If a certificate is not detected, the client and server negotiate the highest level of mutually available encryption.
“It’s our intent to incorporate SGC-enabled 128-bit encryption into all domestic and international versions of Microsoft products using the Internet,” Dusche said. “International banks and U.S. banks with international customers tell us this is a significant step forward for their online banking operations.”
Microsoft Solution Developers planning to incorporate SGC technology into their online financial solutions include Deluxe Data International (U.K.), Sonda (Chile) ,Opentech S.A. (Venezuela) and Glazier Systems Ltd. (New Zealand).
Banks that will obtain digital certificates to enable SGC for their servers include Inverlat (Mexico), Wells Fargo (U.S.), Banco BICE (Latin America), Filanbanco (Ecuador), ASB Bank (New Zealand), Bankers Trust Ltd. (Australia), Bank of New Zealand, Produbanco (Ecuador), Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (Italy) and Nedcor (South Africa).
“The SGC solution means that our customers will have secure online access to their accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere in the world,” said Dudley M. Nigg, head of online banking at Wells Fargo. “And because the Microsoft solution works with both Microsoft and Netscape browsers, it is truly a step forward in the online banking arena.”
Earlier this year, Microsoft obtained an export license from the U.S. Department of Commerce to deploy SGC software and issue 128-bit SGC digital certificates to international banks. Previously, U.S. laws limited exportable U.S. software products to no more than 64-bit encryption for financial data.
“Worldwide, the financial services industry needs to integrate new delivery channels like Internet banking into their customer offerings,” Dusche said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re seeing such tremendous interest in SGC and such tremendous momentum for our platform technology – the Microsoft Windows NT® Server network operating system and the
Microsoft SQL Server
database – that enables powerful, flexible computer systems.”
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, BackOffice and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. More information regarding Microsoft in banking can be found at http://microsoft.com/industry/finserv/ .
Companies Endorsing SGC
“Our fears and reasons not to jump into the Internet commercial market have now been put aside due to the arrival of extremely strong cryptographic keys that protect the bank and its clients from attacks by outside intruders. The use of 128-bit encryption keys plus the additional security provided by Windows NT gives us the final reason to start our Internet commercial area in an extremely secure environment.”
– Robert Simpson
Vice President of Technology
“We eagerly await the release of browser and server technology that will provide standard 128-bit encryption. Although we are successfully using a 128-bit solution at present, we believe that if the encryption mechanisms are built into the browser, access to our site will be easier from a customer perspective. Easy access to our secure banking site will go a long way to further increasing the number of clients. Authentication by certification is our next requirement. This will enable us to provide enhanced ‘virtual’ banking services.”
– Martin Pienaar
Senior Manager, Electronic Banking Division
Nedbank (South Africa)
“This is very exciting news from Microsoft, and we intend to incorporate Microsoft’s 128-bit Server Gated Crypto technology into our current electronic banking service initiatives as soon as it is available. We are currently developing credit card authorization and acquisition systems in conjunction with some of New Zealand’s leading financial service providers, and this announcement greatly strengthens the products and services we will be able to deliver in the short term. The Microsoft announcement effectively means that high-level encryption is being ‘commoditized’ and will accelerate adoption of e-commerce.”
– Pat Ryan
Glazier Systems (New Zealand)
“The fact that Microsoft will now be offering this technology will allow banks in Latin America to reduce costs dramatically. Depending on the type of operation, they could go down to one-tenth the cost of a branch office or one-fifth the cost of an ATM. This is one more step Microsoft is taking in the right direction to help Latin American companies to become more competitive in the financial sector.”
– Sergio Farache
Opentech (Venezuela, Chile)
“This is what we needed to be able to deliver a service that will allow our customers to access their account information and execute financial operations online comfortably, following industry standards and, most important, in a secure way.”
– Carlos Margozzi
Banco BICE (Chile, Argentina, Bermuda)
“Thanks to Microsoft, Sonda Bancos will now be able to offer this type of application to other banks in different countries throughout Latin America. This is a great opportunity for our business.”
Sonda (Chile, Argentina, China)
“Definitely, Microsoft is the key player in Internet technology, having a broad vision of the customer’s and the market’s needs. That Microsoft is providing a secure environment for Internet financial applications allows Inverlat to be more competitive by offering new products and services within Mexican banking. This effort made by Microsoft to export outside the United States and offer financial institutions 128-bit encryption is a great technological advance for the financial industry.”
– Luis del Signo
Architecture and Systems Director
“We’re excited about the work done by Microsoft in gaining the export license for this technology from the U.S. government. The ability to offer native 128-bit encryption for financial services should greatly increase the ease of use and acceptance by our customers of Internet-based financial activities.”
– Garry Fissenden
General Manager of Information Services
ASB Bank (New Zealand)
“By making 128-bit encryption available to financial institutions worldwide, Microsoft removed the most critical obstacle we were facing in delivering innovative services to our clients on the Internet with adequate security. The ability of an SGC-enabled Microsoft Internet Information Server to support both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape clients is a key advantage for us, allowing maximum customer reach without restricting the choice of software or imposing complex installation procedures for enabling strong encryption.”
– David Simpson
Executive Vice President
Bankers Trust Australia Ltd.
“The ability to access 128-bit encryption worldwide will allow us to help our clients use online banking that is secure, so that they can perform all of their banking transactions with any Web browser.”
– Alfredo Ochoa
Vice President, Information Technology