Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing an architecture to eliminate threats to thin-client computer networks. These networks rely on applications servers to drive desktop workstations. Coupling security elements that will evolve from their work with commercial technology, the scientists hope to create a computing environment that offers increased flexibility and accessibility for network users without compromising security.
Future military cyberspace security may require next-generation network management and intrusion detection systems that combine both short-term sensor information and long-term knowledge databases to provide decision-support systems and cyberspace command and control. Sophisticated computer hardware and software would identify a myriad of objects against a noise-saturated environment. Cyberspace command and control systems would track the objects, calculate the velocity, estimate the projected threats, and furnish other critical decision-support functions.
To protect information systems from security breeches, organizations increasingly are embracing a comprehensive strategy that relies on both technology and enforced policies. Meanwhile, the legal system has been hard pressed to keep pace with information system protection issues, leaving many questions unanswered about how far businesses may go to protect their systems.
Uncertainty surrounding a patchwork of commercial information security products hurriedly placed in use on U.S. Defense Department computers and networks is reshaping policy. Successful test and evaluation of these products in specified laboratories will soon become a prerequisite for procurement by military services and defense agencies.
As evaluation policy emerges, the National Security Agency (NSA) is embarking separately on a major long-term program to modernize the inventory of high-grade cryptographic devices. The new cryptography will exploit technology to keep pace with modern communications as bandwidth applications change.
The adoption of networked systems and the prevalence of Internet use have created the potential for unauthorized access to critical data. U.S. Defense Department officials believe that uncontrolled Internet connections pose a significant and unacceptable threat to all of their information systems and operations. Ensuring secure transmissions and the authenticity of data while allowing users to connect from remote locations requires high levels of security.
The convergence of telephone and Internet protocol networks holds great promise, according to industry experts, leading vendors and the press. However, an increasingly converged network also increases the risk factor associated with securing voice and other real-time communication streams. These risks are not limited to Internet-protocol-based networks; traditional time division multiplexing networks also are vulnerable.
The communications sanctity inherent in secure telephone units is migrating into the cellular arena with a new generation of handheld devices no larger than conventional commercial mobile telephones. These telephones are designed to provide high-level government and military secure cellular communications while also being able to serve the commercial arena.
Threats to government and private sector computer systems continue to evolve in new and unexpected ways. These challenges come from a variety of groups such as hackers, terrorists and, increasingly, radical political and social activists.
Protecting the average business computer from a barrage of malicious network intrusions is high on the priority list of many of today's World Wide Web-based organizations. In a move to step up research in network security technology, the U.S. Navy is contracting out a three-year effort to pursue security systems development.
The spread of information and networking technology into virtually all corners of the globe is spawning new opportunities for criminals and terrorists to wreak havoc through the Internet. The dichotomy of system complexity and ease of individual use has created a target-rich environment across the entire realm of cyberspace.