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PKCS #11 openCryptoki for Linux [developerWorks]

Nov 30, 2001 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Cryptography is rapidly becoming a critical part of our daily lives. However, the application of cryptographic technology adds a heavy computational burden to today's server platforms. More systems are beginning to use specialized hardware to offload the computations, as well as to help ensure the security of secret key material.

This article at IBM's developerWorks website discusses openCryptoki, an API that is rapidly becoming the de facto, non-Windows-platform industry standard for interfacing between cryptographic hardware and user space applications. In particular, this article will introduce the specifics of the PKCS #11 implementation to IBM cryptographic hardware (openCryptoki) that is available in open source form.

openCryptoki is an implementation of the PKCS #11 API that allows interfacing to devices (such as a smart card, smart disk, or PCMCIA card) that hold cryptographic information and perform cryptographic functions. openCryptoki provides application portability by isolating the application from the details of the cryptographic device. Isolating the application also provides an added level of security because all cryptographic information stays within the device. The openCryptoki API provides a standard programming interface between applications and all kinds of portable cryptographic devices.

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