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FORTEZZA is derived from the Italian word for fortress or fort. It is a registered trademark of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), and it describes a family of security products that were developed to create user-friendly, low-cost security devices for the Defense Message System. The Defense Department also uses FORTEZZA to encrypt voice communications over its secure telephones.

FORTEZZA cards (and other devices) are general-purposes cryptographic "co-processors" that can be used to provide authentication, data integrity, and confidentiality. Authentication (and nonrepudiation) is provided via DSA (Digital Signature Algorithm), which is part of DSS (Digital Signature Standard). Data integrity is provided via SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm). Confidentiality is provided via KEA (Key Exchange Algorithm) and the SKIPJACK encryption algorithm. KEA and SKIPJACK were formerly classified. For more information about these individual algorithms and standards, refer to the related entries page.

FORTEZZA-enabled devices include PCMCIA-based cards, serial port devices, Ethernet cards, and modems. FORTEZZA is being integrated into cellular telephones, pagers, PDAs, routers, and other devices. FORTEZZA crypto cards are tamper-resistant PCMCIA token authentication smart cards that support all of the preceding security schemes. Enhanced cards with more powerful processors are available to protect classified information.

Microsoft supports FORTEZZA in Windows 2000. There is also a Defense Message System-compliant version of Exchange, and an Outlook messaging and collaboration client. Microsoft Internet Explorer and Internet Information Server also support FORTEZZA.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.