WiMax Forum taps VeriSign for wireless security

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The WiMax Forum, the organisation driving the development, standardisation and adoption of WiMax technology, has picked VeriSign's Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to provide security for the wireless broadband technology.

The WiMax Forum, the organisation driving the development, standardisation and adoption of WiMax technology, has picked VeriSign's Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to provide security for the wireless broadband technology.

The Forum is seeking to ensure secure communication over WiMax-based networks through mutual authentication of devices and servers using X.509 standard digital certificates.

The decision means that VeriSign is now the only independent PKI provider authorised to deliver services to both WiMax service providers and device manufacturers.

"As WiMax capabilities become more recognisable and available around the world, the need for a structured but scalable security framework is vital," said Adam Geller, vice president of enterprise and government authentication at VeriSign.

"We are delighted to be chosen once again to deliver the trusted third-party infrastructure and services required to support a complex ecosystem like WiMax. "

Over 80 million different devices, including everything from ATM machines to cable modems, currently use VeriSign's PKI-based digital certificate services to protect data flowing across networks.

Geller believes that this number is set to grow dramatically now that WiMax is under VeriSign's stewardship.

Matt Wangler, director of operations at the WiMax Forum, said that ensuring secure communication over WiMax-based networks is "critical for the successful growth of the WiMax ecosystem".

"Seamless security that is transparent to the end user is also crucial for widespread adoption," he added.

As part of the agreement, VeriSign will provide mutual strong authentication between WiMax networks and devices through secure key generation and storage, as well as certificate issuance, validation, revocation and renewal.

The architecture is based on a combination of hardware, software and services, all installed in secure data facilities to provide hosted and managed security to a wide array of commercial and government customers.

VeriSign has released a white paper (PDF) detailing the integration of its PKI-based security into the WiMax platform.

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