NEEDHAM HEIGHTS, Mass., June 30, 1998 - The first electronic check (echeck) processed over the Internet was received today by GTE Internetworking, a unit of GTE Corp., from the U.S. Treasury. The echeck was received as payment for services rendered on a contract providing IT services to the U.S. Air Force Material Command. This historic echeck payment is a result of a cooperative three-year initiative, conducted by the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC), to develop secure and efficient Internet banking solutions that will pave the way for widespread implementation of echeck payments among U.S. businesses.
'As a member of the FSTC and a leading provider of secure electronic commerce technologies, GTE truly understands the importance of making payment transactions over the Internet both secure and trusted,' said George Conrades, Executive Vice President of GTE Corp. and President of GTE Internetworking. 'Having contributed key technologies and industry experts to the FSTC electronic check market trial, GTE Internetworking now provides the financial industry and other businesses with essential products and services for efficient and secure electronic payments. We recognize the substantial benefits that electronic checks can bring to our business since we issue and receive hundreds of millions of payments per year. Today is the first step toward the integration of electronic checks into GTE's business transactions.'
'Echeck payments address the banking needs of businesses that exchange traditional paper checks with vendors, consumers, or the government,' said Frank Jaffe, Director, Applied Technology at BankBoston and Vice President of the FSTC. 'By utilizing the Internet for efficient and secure payments, echecks provide a familiar means of banking without having to re-engineer operations or make significant investments in new technologies or systems. The inherent security in the technology design of this low-cost entry to electronic commerce satisfies the stringent requirements of the U.S. Treasury.'
GTE Internetworking, in cooperation with the other project participants, has made significant contributions to the development and deployment of the electronic check market trial. The echeck technology is dependent largely on an interoperable trusted infrastructure and open standards to bring security to payment transactions via the Internet. GTE Internetworking is providing the security infrastructure, professional expertise and Internet services to the FSTC Electronic Check Market Trial. BankBoston, NationsBank and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston are the first financial institutions to support the use of these echeck technologies.
Public Key Infrastructure
Establishing "trust" among the parties involved in electronic payment transactions requires deployment and operation of a public key infrastructure (PKI) for issuing the digital certificates needed to implement digital signatures on echecks and for securing communications among payers, payees, and banks. GTE Internetworking's CyberTrust provided the entire PKI for the U.S. Treasury echeck market trial and also operates the certification authorities used by BankBoston and NationsBank to issue echeck account certificates to their customers.
Both the U.S. Treasury and the participating bank certification authorities utilize CyberTrust SafeKeypers to protect critical private keys used to sign digital certificates. SafeKeyper is the only cryptographic device to be certified as compliant with Level 3 of the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-1. Level 3 is the highest level of assurance currently available in the industry.
Electronic Check Signing
Today's historic echeck payment was signed by the U.S. Treasury using a CyberTrust SafeKeyper and was later endorsed by GTE Internetworking for deposit using a smartcard electronic checkbook.
CyberTrust SafeKeyper is used to sign all of the echecks issued by the U.S. Treasury. GTE Internetworking worked with RDM Corporation, the developer of the echeck issuing software used by U.S. Treasury, to integrate the SafeKeyper into the mission-critical application. The U.S. Treasury uses two SafeKeypers, both operating in a redundant fashion, to insure continuous operation of the echeck issuing facility that uses the unique multi-party controls provided by SafeKeypers where two or more people must insert special 'cryptographic ignition keys' before the SafeKeyper will sign any echecks.
As part of the echeck solution, participating bank customers will be issued an electronic checkbook kit which includes the RDM Payee software and the IRE smartcard. The smartcard device is used to sign or endorse echecks using private keys that are stored only on the smartcard's microchip. IRE and GTE co-developed the card issuing system that allows banks to simultaneously request certificates from CyberTrust and electronic checkbooks from IRE. The echeck certificate is integrated onto the smartcard before it is sent to bank customers.
This system makes use of S/MIME secure email services, and internally uses another set of smartcards with digital certificates issued by CyberTrust to authenticate and encrypt messages among the banks, GTE and IRE. GTE and IRE also collaborated to develop smartcard-based certificates that are used to sign the payment instruction files sent from Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to the U.S. Treasury's echeck issuing system, as well as from the U.S. Treasury to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
GTE Internetworking's Professional Services organization has contributed to the overall echeck market trials security architecture and operational practices. It provided the application integration to support echecks within an open, standard PKI employing digital certificates and cryptographic signatures. Its expertise in electronic payments, including the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) credit card industry initiative, was applied resulting in a highly refined approach to electronic checking.
GTE Internetworking's market leadership is demonstrated through its innovation in echeck payment security and its key role in the development of the SET protocol, the only accepted standard for securing credit card transactions over the Internet. As the only PKI vendor to offer both echeck and SET services and products, GTE Internetworking directly addresses the electronic payment needs of financial institutions, businesses and consumers worldwide. As a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) offering a full array of Internet access and hosting facilities, GTE Internetworking is uniquely positioned to provide complete solutions for today's demanding electronic payment needs.
GTE Internetworking provides public Internet communications services used in the echeck market trial, including dial access accounts from the DiaLinx service offering. BankBoston uses GTE Internet Advantage services and SitePatrol managed firewall service for general Internet connectivity, including the receipt of echecks presented for deposit.
In support of the echeck rollout, GTE Internetworking is providing web hosting and content preparation services for the FSTC. This new echeck web site is located at http://www.echeck.org. For additional information on how to become a member of the FSTC's Electronic Check Market Trial or for more detailed information on echeck banking solutions, contact Jim Luisi at 312/527-6724; firstname.lastname@example.org.
GTE Internetworking Electronic Check Solutions
GTE Internetworking now offers a full array of integrated solutions for financial institutions interested in offering echeck services. Businesses can deploy ecommerce solutions and electronic payment services in conjunction with the echeck payment technology. Evaluation kits for businesses or financial institutions interested in echeck applications will be offered along with tutorial materials. Consulting packages are available from GTE Internetworking's Professional Services to deploy the echeck solution using existing networks and platforms. Complete architectural studies and operational practice recommendations, as well as custom application design and development services for echeck solutions, are also available.
CyberTrust offers the only set of PKI products and services that can handle all aspects of certificate management for echecking, SET credit cards, secure email and access control applications. PKI products range from a single workstation offering to a complete distributed systems capability. CyberTrust offerings handle all aspects of the certificate management process for organizations that do not want to operate their own.
For additional information on GTE Internetworking's echeck solutions, contact Walter Taylor at 617/873-3082; email@example.com.
About GTE Internetworking
GTE Internetworking is a business unit of GTE Corporation (NYSE: GTE).
GTE Internetworking combines the security strengths, Internet knowledge and technological innovation of BBN Corporation, Genuity, Inc. and GTE CyberTrust Solutions, Inc. into one internetworking market leader. GTE Internetworking delivers complete network solutions including network and security consulting, managed Internet security, systems integration, web-based application development and certification authority products and services. It offers a full spectrum of integrated Internet services using IP networking technologies and has 12 global data centers and a unique, load-balancing technology for web hosting.
About GTE Corporation
With 1997 revenues of more than $23 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 17 states; nationwide long-distance and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies, as well as video service in selected markets.
Outside the United States, the company serves more than 7 million telecommunications customers. GTE is also a leader in government and defense communications systems and equipment, directories and telecommunications-based information services, and aircraft-passenger telecommunications. Additional information about GTE can be found on the Internet at http://www.GTE.com.