RPK Security has announced a new tool for on-the-fly encryption of streaming media between servers and clients at the RealNetworks Conference and Exhibition '99.
RPK SecureMedia uses strong encryption technology developed in New Zealand that is globally exportable to protect both video and audio assets from prying eyes. SecureMedia is designed to work with the inconsistent packet rates involved in streaming media. The tool ignores lost and dropped packets without affecting decryption on the client side.
"We can encrypt any type of data on the fly: streaming media, voice over IP, even over [virtual private networks,]" says Jack Oswald, president and CEO of RPK.
Due out in June, the first release of SecureMedia will support RealPlayer and RealServer G2. The system uses a public key infrastructure and can use the Pentium III serial number or the unique ID number found in each G2 player as part of the authentication scheme, Oswald says. Adding that decryption on the client side does not put a noticeable strain on system performance.
But why encode audio or video with such strong encryption? If an encoded plain text message is cracked it's easy to read. But an audio or video bit is more abstract. "There's a lot of similarities in audio and video," Oswald says. "You can look for certain patterns that would be there such as silence or black screens. If you use weak encryption, one could look for those patterns then backtrack to get the rest of the stream."
SecureMedia uses RPK's own key technology that uses 607-bit keys for maximum protection.
Beta versions of the software will be available later this month. Client plug-ins will be free, while server-side pricing has not been determined.