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Utimaco
Utimaco, formerly written as uti-maco, is an supplier of cybersecurity solutions, established in 1983 and headquartered in Aachen (Germany) and Campbell (Silicon Valley, USA). The company specialises in Hardware Security Modules (HSM), Key Management solutions, data protection, identity management, Public Warnings Systems (PWS) and solutions for regulated critical infra­structure. Utimaco also supplies Lawful Interception Magement Systems (LIMS) to goverments.

Utimaco corporate logo

The company has 500+ employees (2023) and has additional offices in London (UK), Assago (Italy), Herzeliya (Israel) and Singapore [1]. Furthermore it has a worldwide network of strategic partners, such as Compumatica in The Netherlands and InfoGuard in Switzerland. In 2022, Utimaco was acquired from the previous owner EQT Partners by SGT Capital.

Utimaco products on this website
8-bit ISA-bus PC HSM card for harddisc encryption
CryptWare Hardware Security Module (HSM) on ISA-bus PC card
SafeGuard smart card
SafeGuard
ROBIN smart card for the Belgian Department of Justice
ROBIN
Hardware Security Module (HSM) with PCIe interface
Secure server with Hardware Security Module (HSM)
Lawful Interception Management System
LIMS
 Utimaco crypto products


History
Utimaco was founded in 1964 with a focus on the early data processing centres. In 1983, under direction of Horst Görtz, the company was renamed uti-maco Software GmbH and shifted focus to information security. In the following years, Utimaco lauched its two mainstream products: a Hardware Security Module (HMS) in 1991, and a Lawful Interception Management System (LIMS) in 1994. Both these products are still the core of the company's product portfolio today {2023).

Over the years, Utimaco has grown considerably, partly resulting from sales of in-house developed hard- and software solutions, but also as a result of a series of mergers and acquisitions. After becoming listed on the stock exchange, Utimaco was owned by several investors and parent companies, including Sophos, Apex Partners, BIP Investment Parners, PINOVA Capital, EQT Partners and lastly SGT Capital, which is the current owner (2023).

Uti-maco Belgium
In the past, there was also an Utimaco branch in Belgium. Established in May 1992, 80% of the shares of this branch were held by four former employees of Cryptech — a spin-off from the Univerity of Louvain's 1 ESAT laboratory that had run into financial trouble in early 1992. The remaining 20% of the shares were held by Uti-maco Germany, which also lend it its name [2].

After the demise of Cryptech, Uti-maco Belgium acquired the worldwide rights to its security tool kits, which were marketed alongside Uti-maco Germany's own SafeGuard products. In addition, a joint venture agreement was signed with COSIC, the department of the University of Louvain involved in cryptographic technology research. With only five employees, Uti-maco Belgium closed its first financial year with a turnover of BFR 38 million (approx. EUR 1 million) [2].

In 1995, all shares of the Belgian Utimaco were taken over by Utimaco Germany, after which the company became a full daughter of Utimaco Germany. In 2002, the Belgian Utimaco faced bankruptcy, after the German parent had stopped the supply of financial resources. As a result, 30 people lost their job. The products and software rights remained with the German parent [3].

  1. in Flemish/Dutch, Louvain is known as Leuven.

Controversy
In 2011, Utimaco was accused of integrating its Lawful Interception product (LIMS) into the surveillance systems used by the Government of Iran, leading to the arrest, detention and torture of a university student [7]. The technology was also sold to Syria at a time when sanctions were in force on the country (although these sanction did not yet include surveillance software).

Utimaco first supplied LIMS to Iran in 2006 for MTN Irancell (via Nokia's German unit Trovicor). Iranian security agents later confirmed that this allowed them to spy on human rights activist Saleh Hamid, who eventually was detained and tortured for 'spreading propaganda against the regime'. LIMS was also included in the 2010 offering of the Chinese company Huawei for a bid for a lawful interception solution on MobiNet, the first wireless broadband provider in Iran [7].

In 2011, a Bloomberg investigation revealed that Utimaco was involved supplying surveillance equipment to Syria, via the Italian company Area, at a time when international sanctions were in force. Although the sanctions did not include surveillance technology, Utimaco's parent Sophos took the matter seriously and abandonned its relationship with Utimaco. In 2013, Utimaco was demerged through a management buyout involving BIP Investment Partners and PINOVA Capital.

Nomenclature
The following names/companies are related to Utimaco:

  • Utimaco
  • Uti-maco
  • Utimaco Software GmbH
  • Utimaco Safeware AG
  • Utimaco GmbH
  • Utimaco IS GmbH
  • Utimaco Managment GmbH
  • SafeGuard
Products
  • 1986
    SAFE-MEN
  • 1987
    SAFE-Board
  • 1991
    HSM CryptoServer
  • 1994
    LIMS
  • 2002
    2nd Gen. HSM CryptoServer
  • 2006
    HSM SDK
  • 2007
    HSM Simulator
  • 2010
    eID Deutschland HSM
  • 2012
    SafeGuard CryptoServer LAN
  • 2016
    6th Gen. HSM
  • ?
    CryptoServer CB5
Timeline
  • 1964
    Founded as Utilisation des Machines Comptables [6]
  • 1983
    Uti-maco Germany Software GmbH founded in Frankfurt (Germany) 1
  • 1986
    SAFE-MEN launched (PC-based data protection)
  • 1987
    SAFE-Board (harddisc protection)
  • 1988
    SafeGuard Professional receives Golden Award Software Europe
  • 1990
    Move from Frankfurt to Oberursel (Germany)
  • 1991
    Merger with data security division of PC Plus GmbH (München)
  • 1991
    SafeGuard Professional 3.1 certified
  • 1991
    First Hardware Security Module (HSM)
  • 1992
    SafeGuard LAN Crypt launched
  • 1992
    SafeGuard Easy launched
  • 1992
    Utimaco Belgium NV founded (20%)
  • 1993
    Utimaco Safeware Inc. founded
  • 1993
    Acquisition of data security portfolio of CGN Data Trading (Köln)
  • 1993
    SafeGuard products sold under IBM brand (cooperation with IBM)
  • 1994
    Development of Lawful Interception Management System (LIMS)
  • 1994
    Acquisition of Safeware GmbH in Austria
  • 1994
    SafeGuard for Mac discontinued
  • 1994
    Utimaco Safeware France A.S. founded (France)
  • 1994
    Utimaco Safeware Schweiz AG founded (Switzerland)
  • 1994
    Utimaco Norge AS founded (Norway)
  • 1995
    Acquisition of D&R (Netherlands), renamed Utimaco Sofeware BV
  • 1995
    Acquisition of Utimaco Belgium NV
  • 1995
    SafeGuard Desktop for OS/2 launched (partnership with IBM)
  • 1996
    Utimaco Safeware Ltd. founded (UK)
  • 1997
    Partnership with ALPS (Ireland)
  • 1997
    Patent application for digital signature, SafeGuard Sign&Crypt
  • 1997
    Utimaco Safeware BV founded (Netherlands)
  • 1998
    Utimaco Safeware AB founded (Norwegen)
  • 1998
    SafeGuard Sign&Crypt launched
  • 1998
    Utimaco Safeware AB founded (Sweden)
  • 1998
    Acquisition of Mergent International (USA)
  • 1998
    Utimaco Safeware Oy founded (Finland)
  • 1998
    LANCrypt for Windows launched
  • 1999
    Acquisition of KryptoKom (Aachen, Germany)
  • 1999
    SafeGuard VPN launched
  • 1999
    Stock exchange as Utimaco Safeware AG
  • 2000
    Card reader for online payments
  • 2000
    Omnikey founded (joint venture with ACG)
  • 2000
    Partnership with Siemens Health Services
  • 2000
    SafeGuard Personal Firewall launched
  • 2001
    Partnership with Percise Biometrics
  • 2001
    Danish Police cannot break 16 notebooks secured with SafeGuard Easy
  • 2001
    SafeGuard Biometrics launched
  • 2002
    Major restructuring
  • 2002
    Utimaco Belgium closed down
  • 2002
    Network Security business line taken over by Compumatica
  • 2007
    SafeGuard Enterprise launched
  • 2008
    Utimaco Safeware firewall technology taken over by Compumatica
  • 2009
    Utimaco Safeware acquired by Sophos
  • 2010
    Majority of Utimaco sold to Apax Partners
  • 2011
    Accused of supplying LIMS to repressive regimes [4]
  • 2012
    Delisted from the stock exchange
  • 2013
    Utimaco acquired by BIP Investment partners and Pinova Capital
  • 2014
    Utimaco Safeware AG dissolved
  • 2016
    Utimaco Management GmbH founded
  • 2017
    Utimaco acquired by EQT Partners
  • 2018
    Acquisition of Atalla HSM product line from Micro Focus International
  • 2018
    Acquisition of Enterprise Secure Key Manager (ESKM)
  • 2020
    Acquisition of Geobridge
  • 2021
    Acquisition of MYHSM service
  • 2021
    Acquisition of exceet Secure Solutions GmbH
  • 2021
    Acquisition of Realsec
  • 2022
    Utimaco acquired by SGT Capital
  • 2022
    Acquisition of Celltick (Public Warning Systems)
  1. Utimaco is an abbraviation of the company's former name Utilisation des Machines Comptables [9].

References
  1. Utimaco corporate website
    Visited March 2023.

  2. Second chance for Flemish software security skills
    De Tijd, 7 May 1993

  3. Belga, 30 banen weg bij Utimaco Safeware Belgium
    Gazet van Antwerpen, 17 September 2002.

  4. CISION, SGT Capital completes the acquisition of Utimaco, ...
    PR Newswire, 1 June 2022.

  5. Wikipedia, Sophos
    Visited 5 March 2023.

  6. Wikipedia (Germany), Utimaco
    Visited 5 March 2023.

  7. A giant leap backwards: Corporations divesting toxic surveillance companies
    Privacy International (PI), 25 October 2023. Archived from the original link

  8. Everybody Wiki, Utimaco
    Visited 5 March 2023.

  9. Hans-Peter Dorn, Utimaco, Ein kleiner Streifzug durech die Geschichte, 1983-2015
    Visited 5 March 2023.
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 05 March 2023. Last changed: Monday, 20 March 2023 - 08:06 CET.
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