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SECURITY GUARDS FOR INTERNET BANKING

WHILE MANY NETIZENS ARE still wary of security, banks are eager to offer home-banking services on the Net. First Union Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., hopes to allay concerns by hooking up with giant GTE Corp.

The security setup developed by GTE uses ''keys'' and a scheme known as ''digital certificates.'' One key resides on the customer's home PC and uses a complex algorithm to create a digital certificate, or unique identifier. When the customer's PC connects with the bank's computers, the certificate is sent to the bank and decoded by a matching key, verifying that the PC dialing in is a recognized client. First Union's banking service is one of the first to use digital certificates. Most other home-banking systems rely on the simple security mechanisms built into Web browsers, which can be cracked by hackers. About 300 First Union clients will participate in a field test of the setup in September.

GTE, which through its research and development unit has worked for years with the U.S. military on security programming, plans more products. For example, it's developing a setup for the entertainment industry to allow safe transmission of a movie from a studio to a special-effects shop.

By Susan Jackson
EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG


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Updated Aug. 21, 1997 by bwwebmaster
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