Crypto pioneer and security chief exits Sun

Crypto pioneer and security chief exits Sun
Crypto pioneer and security chief exits Sun 

By Gavin Clarke in San Francisco
The Register
19th November 2009

Crypto pioneer and Sun Microsystems' veteran chief security officer 
Whitfield Diffie has left the company, with database-giant Oracle's 
acquisition still in the air.

According to Technology Review, Diffie is slated to be a visiting 
professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, after 18 years at 
Sun, latterly in the high-profile security role as chief security 

It's unclear why Diffie left Sun and whether his exit was related to 
Oracle's pending takeover or recent layoffs. Oracle, as ever, declined 
to comment.

Diffie is famous for his ground-breaking invention of public key 
cryptography - PKI - in 1975. PKI today is taken for granted because 
it's used so widely to protect emails, documents, and commerce in 
every-day online communications and business.

It's worth remembering that it was Diffie who helped make this a 
reality. He sparred with spooks and US politicians, as the government 
attempted to limit who could use crypto in the interests of "national 

Diffie joined Sun in 1991 and in 2002 was named chief security officer, 
with the mission of leading a global initiative to evangelize Sun's 
security offerings. He was also tasked with talking about major issues 
in relation to technology security.


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