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As open networks in companies are spreading from inside the company to the outside world, the characteristics of the data transferred across the network are changing. At first, most of this data was generated to support internal research networks, but recently the importance of guarding internal data such as personal information and business strategies has become great. Thus, network security is becoming a very important issue in network communications.
This article discusses why security is important as networks grow in size, and suggests what types of security will be required. It also points out the two basic types of security requirements--defensive security to protect data from invalid access and offensive security such as electronic commerce using security mechanisms.
Hitachi's security technology, called Multimedia Encryption (MULTI), is a purely software-based implementation, and therefore does not require special hardware. The encoding speed of this system is high because it is designed to match 32 bit CPU instructions. The article describes two security software products which use MULTI. One is for encoding and decoding files and the other is for constructing digital signatures.