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CDSA (Common Data Security Architecture)

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CDSA is essentially security middleware. It is a specification of The Open Group that provides a set of APIs that independent software developers can use to embed security into desktop and network applications. In particular, CDSA is designed for use in electronic commerce, communications, and content delivery applications.

An important feature of CDSA is its ability to provide the highest level of encryption allowable in the country where it is being used. International companies can use CDSA to comply with the government encryption regulations of the countries they operate in.

The architecture is designed around two themes:

  • Digital certificates are used to identify users and to provide authorization information.

  • Portable digital tokens are used to carry cryptographic keys and perform cryptographic operations.

These themes support data encryption, data integrity (the ability to detect tampering), authenticity (the ability to validate the sender), and nonrepudiation (the ability to prevent a sender from denying that they sent data). CDSA supports X.509 digital certificates, the Digital Signature Algorithm, and LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol).

The CDSA architecture is multilayered. The bottom service provider modules layer consists of cryptographic service providers, trust model libraries, certificate libraries, data storage libraries, and other yet to be defined services.

The next layer up is the CSSM (Common Security Services Manager) layer, which consists of published APIs that applications use to access security features such as cryptographic operations and certificate management operations. At the top of the system are security services and applications that are usually written in C, C++, and Java.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.