High-Speed Transmissions Challenge Encryption Software

Source: ACM TechNews.
The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Global Information Grid (GIG), a common, high-speed grid used by all federal agencies and international organizations to share sensitive information, requires use of encryption technology at high speeds in order to avoid filling up bandwidth with wasted processes. The DOD’s GIG Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE) program, scheduled for release later this year, will provide military bases in the United States with at least 100 times more bandwidth and military bases overseas with about 138 times more bandwidth, according to DoD’s Defense Information Systems Agency CTO David Mihelcic. The DoD is utilizing SafeNet’s SafeEnterprise SONET/SDH encryption technology and its SafeEnterprise security management center software to ensure data security while on the GIG. SafeNet’s Chris Fedde says the encryption technology allows speeds of 155 Mbps to 10 Gbps in order to accomplish secure encryption without filling up bandwidth. Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC), a public key cryptosystem adopted by the National Security Agency to protect critical information, will replace legacy encryption systems due to increased functionality and decreased bandwidth utilization. ECC reduces the required bandwidth, memory, and power required to receive and translate encrypted information, so users can use the technology on cell phones, PDAs, and smart cards. Certicom’s Mitch Blaser says ECC is becoming so widely accepted that most federal agencies will not consider products that do not come with standard ECC security protocols. Another potentially valuable technology is hardware-based full disc encryption for notebook PCs. Users of the technology will ensure data on their notebooks is not susceptible to attack when the device is lost or stolen, and disposing of the machine simply involves deleting the encryption key.

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