[Secure FTP] created as a student project at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) (Windows, Linux, Solaris et al.)

Bruce F Lucca lucca at Buffalo.com
Tue Apr 17 00:40:55 EDT 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -=- February 7, 2001

Contact: David Hart, SDSC, dhart at sdsc.edu, 858-534-8314

Secure FTP, created as a student project at the San Diego Supercomputer
Center (SDSC), is a frequently downloaded new file transfer client that
provides users a simple way to have a secure connection while transferring
files via FTP (file transfer protocol), the most widely used method of
transferring large files over the Internet. Distributed as a free download,
Secure FTP uniquely combines good security through strong encryption,
ease-of-use, and portability to run on almost any platform supporting Java.

"We noticed there was a lack of security in basic FTP, so we decided that a
more secure solution was needed," said Gary Cohen, now of computer security
firm Glub Tech, who began development of Secure FTP along with Brian Knight
as a UCSD class project supervised by Sid Karin, director of SDSC and UCSD
professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and Tom Perrine, SDSC
manager of security technologies.

Although often associated with supercomputing hardware, SDSC also plays an
important role in fostering useful software as a core part of building
tomorrow's computational infrastructure. "As high-performance academic
computing becomes more integrated in grid computing, the role of software
infrastructure is vital, and that includes security software such as Secure
FTP," Karin said. "The development of Secure FTP is a nice example of how
innovative software can be nurtured in SDSC's educational environment, and
then mature into commercially supported software."

Perrine added that "we'll be recommending Secure FTP as a new service to
all our researchers and partners. We've been trying for years to eliminate
plain text passwords from our networks, and an especially useful feature of
Secure FTP is that it doesn't force bulk data encryption, which can greatly
slow things down and isn't important to most of our scientific users.
Secure FTP gives you the option to encrypt just the username and password."
The current version of Secure FTP encrypts the command channel, which
contains the username and password, and version 2 will add an option to
allow the data channel to be encrypted as well.

"In just a few months this software has become very popular, and has been
rated in the Top 5% [of submissions] by Java review service JARS.com,"
said. Version 1.0 was released in September 2000, and there have already
been more  than 8,500 downloads. In addition to offering security, users
comment that the professional and customizable interface makes this program
stand out. The Options menu lets users select among different themes, with
five fruity themes like Blueberry, or create their own.

The current version of Secure FTP is supported on Windows and any UNIX
platform where a Java 2 (or Swing) runtime environment is present. Secure
FTP is available in English, Japanese, and Italian, with French and German
translations planned in the near future. Since this software includes
encryption technology, U.S. export restrictions apply.

The security mechanism used in Secure FTP is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer),
now known as TLS (Transport Layer Security). This is the same mechanism
used on secure web servers. Future releases may support other
authentication mechanisms such as Kerberos or one-time-passwords.

Secure FTP is a joint production between SDSC and Glub Tech. 

More information and free download of the Secure FTP software is available at:
<http://secureftp.sdsc.edu/ or http://secureftp.glub.com/>.

Information about security activities at SDSC:

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is a research unit of the
University of California, San Diego, and the leading-edge site of the
National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure
(http://www.npaci.edu/). SDSC is sponsored by the National Science Foundation
through NPACI and by other federal agencies, the State and University of
California, and private organizations. 

For additional information about SDSC see: 
or contact 
David Hartat SDSC
<dhart at sdsc.edu>
(858) 534-8314

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