If knowledge is power and information is a force multiplier, then security is the key to defense and commercial supremacy in the information age. Any kind of strength, whether military or economic, represents a target for adversaries or competitors. Information, however, is to modern civilization what fire was at the dawn of humankind: an unlimited asset that, if not controlled, quickly can be turned against its user.
The greatest threat to U.S. security may come from internal software or hardware trapdoors lying dormant in the nation's critical infrastructure. The digital equivalent of Cold War moles, these hidden threats would serve as access points for criminals, terrorists or hostile governments to extort money, impel foreign policy appeasement or ultimately launch crippling information attacks on the United States.
The mechanical principles that protect personal belongings inside a high school locker may hold the key to guarding digital assets. Creators of a miniature combination lock, which consists of six gears that together are the size of a shirt button, believe the device guarantees that systems can be shielded from invasions with a one-in-a-million chance that an intruder can break the code.
The company that created the secure sockets layer to manage network message transmission security, and today opens the Internet to tens of millions of people around the world, is now collaborating with the U.S. Defense Department to secure cyberspace communications and transactions.
Software designers are applying artificial intelligence principles to new computer security systems. These tools and protocols create the potential for agile software capable of quickly identifying and responding to new threats.
The debate between the European Union and the United States over protecting personal information represents a fundamental cultural difference that could alter the future growth of electronic commerce. Throughout this debate, these differences have threatened to bring data transfers from within the European Union to the United States to a grinding halt.
Monitoring force status, planning campaigns and disseminating orders soon may take minutes instead of hours as the British Army implements a new command support system. Its two-dimensional map display and manipulation features graphic task organization, drag-and-drop document and message handling, operational log keeping, extensive database reference, and task planning and management. A mouse would be used as a primary interface to activate functions or show whatever is desired on top of displayed mapping.
A new military radio incorporates the capabilities of several different units in a single package. Offering flexible and secure communications in a variety of bands, the lightweight, manportable unit also features an all-digital architecture, allowing for software upgrades and advanced power management.
Dealing with the Byzantine operations of the Internal Revenue Service leaves a lot of executives feeling taxed-but not Van B. Honeycutt. Instead, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Computer Sciences Corporation, El Segundo, California, says his company's lead role in a 10- to 15-year contract to overhaul the federal tax agency's information infrastructure underscores a series of dramatic changes he helped plan 10 years ago. They include more work with Fortune 500 companies and rapid growth through acquisitions.
A U.S. organization that is heading efforts to develop a new standard for cryptography may opt for more than one algorithm to serve widely varying global requirements for secure communications in such applications as electronic mail or video. The advanced encryption standard, when it is chosen, will be the successor to a data encryption standard that was developed approximately 20 years ago. It was adopted by users internationally, and the new scrambling code promises to be equally well received.