Information Resource Engineering Inc., a Baltimore-based computer security firm, introduced its first encryption chip yesterday.
Such chips are used to protect electronic transmissions from being intercepted and read without permission.
The security devices have become increasingly important -- and profitable -- as businesses and individuals have begun to rely on public computer networks on the Internet for commercial and personal communication.
"With a modem, people can see your messages over the Internet," said Jack Hembrough, a vice president at IRE. "This [chip] enables privacy over a public network."
The chip, called SafeNet/Eurocrypt, will be generally available June 30. It was developed by IRE's Swiss subsidiary, Gretacoder Data Systems AG.
The U.S. government has placed limits on the export of encryption technology, fearing that criminals might use it to hide illegal activity.
By developing the chip in Switzerland, IRE avoids these export restrictions and is able to market the device internationally.
Pub Date: 6/03/98