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RSA Laboratories

6.2.6 What is Fortezza?

The Fortezza Crypto Card, formerly called Tessera, is a PC card (formerly PCMCIA, Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) developed by NSA that implements the Capstone algorithms. The card provides security through verification, authentication, non-repudiation, and encryption.

Fortezza is intended for use with the Defense Messaging Service (DMS) and is export controlled. A number of vendors have announced support for the Fortezza card; NSA has also built and demonstrated a PKCS #11-based library (see Question 5.3.3) that interfaces to the card.

Currently, the NSA is working with companies, such as VLSI, to develop commercial products that implement Fortezza algorithms. VLSI is devising a ``Regent'' chip that adds DES and RSA algorithms. The NSA also supports commercial development of smart card chips with Fortezza algorithm capability.

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