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secunet takes over strongSwan open source project

secunet, Germany's leading cybersecurity company, acquires the open source project strongSwan. The software implements the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) protocol of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which can be used to set up IPsec-secured virtual private networks (VPNs). This allows sensitive data to be transferred securely over the Internet.

In the IT high-security solution SINA, which secunet developed on behalf of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), strongSwan is central to key management. But other large companies also rely on the software: strongSwan is used in many products in which IP encryption plays a role – for example, in millions of popular smartphones.
The takeover agreement with OST Ostschweizer Fachhochschule – formerly HSR Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil (Switzerland) – which had previously managed the project, was signed at the end of May 2022. Now the rights for the software are held by secunet.

strongSwan is generally distributed under the software license GPLv2 (General Public License, version 2) and can thus be executed, studied, modified and distributed by anyone. The license conditions of the GPLv2 must always be maintained. In addition, existing – but also new – customers will continue to be offered non-GPL licensing (dual licensing) as well as maintenance and support contracts. The software is available on the website www.strongswan.org.

"secunet has always been committed to open source software and uses it in its products and solutions," explains Dr. Kai Martius, Chief Technology Officer and member of the Management Board of secunet Security Networks AG. "Customers benefit from the transparency this provides. In addition, approval processes by IT security authorities such as the BSI are simplified. In line with this strategy, I am pleased that we are now taking on another technology building block that fits perfectly into our portfolio."

With the IPsec implementation in the Linux kernel, secunet has already been maintaining another prominent open source project for many years, which is also central to IP encryption. The secure cloud operating system SecuStack, developed and distributed by secunet in a joint venture with Cloud & Heat, is also based on open source software in the form of OpenStack. secunet and secustack are involved in the Open Infra Foundation (https://openinfra.dev) in order to contribute their security technologies to OpenStack. At the beginning of 2022, secunet also joined the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA, osb-alliance.de) as a “shaper” (“Gestalter”).

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