Sun outlines security vision

Sun has released details of a road map for supporting electronic commerce and secure transactions in Java environments, including a technology called Java Channel that promises to give roaming users secure access to their applications.

Sun has released details of a road map for supporting electronic commerce and secure transactions in Java environments, including a technology called Java Channel that promises to give roaming users secure access to their applications.

Java Channel technology would allow users to attach a piece of Java code to any user of a site, designating where the user is allowed to navigate within the site, according to Humphrey Polanen, vice-president and general manager of Sun's network security products group.

The Java Channel is designed to work in conjunction with the existing Secure Key Management for Internet Protocol (SKIP), Polanen says.

"It's like a train on a railroad track," Polanen says. "SKIP is the track you run on, and the Java channel will keep you on that track."

Java's security road map is designed to provide a set of technologies that Sun hopes will establish a standard for secure e-commerce.

Besides a Java Channel, SKIP for the Java operating system, a SKIP API, and management enhancements, Sun also plans to roll out certificate authorities and smart cards that would employ the Java Channel technology.

Java security enhancements are key to addressing end-user concerns about security, says one analyst.

"From both the merchant and consumer sides, security is going to be an issue," says Victor Wheatman, an analyst at Gartner Group, in Santa Clara, California. "There is a concern that applets can do things that they are not supposed to."

Sun is one the Web at http://www.sun.com.

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