CMC Magazine September 1, 1995 / Page 3
by John December (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Netscape Communications Corporation announced its stock offering this month.
Buoyed by the success of its Netscape Navigator browser and its Web server software, Netscape Communications Corporations became a public company this month. Netscape's stock (ticker NSCP) issued 5,000,000 Common Shares at $28 each on August 8, 1995 on the NASDAQ National Market.
On its first day of trading, the stock climbed as high as $74 during the day, but the stock closed no higher than $57 during the month of August.
Later in the month, a student in France broke the export version of Netscape's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security system. The student, Damien Doligez, made use of 120 networked workstations and about a week of processing time to crack the code using a "brute force" method.
The export version Doligez cracked is a 40-bit version, which is less secure than the 120-bit encryption system used in the United States which is not available for export.
Netscape pointed out that Doligez had to use a lot of processing power to break the system: 64 MIPS-years (equivalent to a processor running one million instructions per second for 64 years). For anyone to break another message using the same technique, he or she would have to use another, equivalent amount of processing power. Netscape pointed out that it would be easier to compromise credit card transactions by rummaging for credit slips in garbage cans. The encryption scheme used in the United States, RC4-128, is 2^88 (2 raised to the 88th power) times harder to break.
Offered with Windows '95 is Microsoft's Internet Explorer, a Web browser with enhanced NCSA Mosaic technology licensed from Spyglass. The browser also has capabilities for RealAudio, a system for distributing sound over the Internet.
In addition to more than 1,000 Internet providers already in the game, AT&T and the former "baby bells" will offer Internet access services to homes and businesses.
The "big" telecommunications companies, still focused on voice-diddling to make money, are entering the Internet service game very late. But AT&T now offers WorldNet. Billed as "Internet for Everyone," the service provides a variety of options for businesses to integrate Internet communication into their business.
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