Canadian wireless security firm Certicom is working with the National Security Agency (NSA) to research and develop advanced encryption technology and tools for protecting classified information. The NSA hopes the pilot program will result in new technology that will be integrated and used to secure top-secret government communications without compromising network speed and performance.

The NSA employs the country's premier codemakers and codebreakers. It is said to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the U.S., who contribute directly to the two missions of the agency: designing cipher systems that will protect the integrity of U.S. information systems and searching for weaknesses in adversaries' systems and codes.

According to Certicom, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canadas cryptologic agency, will likely use the same security tools for the protection of sensitive information within the Government of Canada, as part of its Canadian Cryptographic Modernization Project (CCMP).

The contract was facilitated through the Canadian Commercial Corp. (CCC), Canada's export contracting agency. Acting as prime contractor, CCC through its own due diligence process assessed Certicom and worked with NSA on a government-to-government basis, providing a Canadian government-backed guarantee of contract performance on this project.

"This contract puts Certicom at the forefront of cryptographic developments within both the government and defense sectors," said Ian McKinnon, president and CEO of Certicom.

Top-secret communications are used at the highest levels of government and clearly must be protected by technology that goes well beyond off-the-shelf cryptography. The goal is to improve the time to market with equipment that can secure and protect a nations most sensitive information.

Certicom products are currently licensed to more than 300 customers including Texas Instruments, Palm, Research In Motion, Cisco Systems, Oracle and Motorola. Founded in 1985, Certicom is headquartered in Mississauga, ON, Canada, with offices in Ottawa, ON; Herndon, Va; San Mateo, Calif.; and London, England.