nCipher announced a new product, the Hardware Protected SSL Certificate. The new offering ensures that Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are protected by Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS)-validated cryptographic hardware, which allows a stronger level of authentication. The hardware complies with the FIPS 140-2 specification. nCipher is partnering with VeriSign to provide certificates for the new hardware-based certificate model.

nCipher's hardware solution will help protect the private key used to secure certificates, which helps validate a Web site's identity. nCipher Vice President of Marketing Richard Moulds said, "There is a growing industry awareness that sensitive cryptographic keys should be protected in secure hardware and this offering is designed to increase levels of protection that ultimately reduce risk. With threats to Web site security on the rise, we are glad to be partnering with VeriSign to combine best-practice security within the SSL certificate market that includes all secure Web sites and other emerging applications that use SSL, including Web services and secure extranet access."

The new hardware will be available in May 2003, with prices starting at $4500. Certificates will be sold separately and prices will start at $995.