Feeds

Military industrial complex aims to revamp email

Trust but verify

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A consortium of British and US military agencies and defense and aerospace firms have agreed a new standard for secure email. Security experts are watching the developments closely, but are unsure how much of the specification will make it into public use or commercial email security products.

The secure email specification from the The Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP) aims to address email's inherent identity and data transmission security flaws. The specification covers a method for authenticating users that creates a Public Key Infrastucture system that could act as the backbone for other forms of electronic collaboration.

The requirements were defined and endorsed by the members of the TSCP: the US Department of Defense (DoD), UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), BAE Systems, Boeing, EADS, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Rolls-Royce.

The US Defence Department intends to use the specification to protect "controlled but unclassified information". The MoD also expects to deploy the capability enterprise-wide in 2008 for classifications up to "UK Restricted".

The TSCP implementation is based on TSCP-defined publicly available specifications which organisations must follow to assign vetted identity information to all email senders and recipients. The current implementation was constructed with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products, open source software, and a commercial trusted third-party service, CertiPath. The resulting digital certificate-based system ensures that information only travels to and from trusted parties. The framework plugs into either Lotus Notes or Outlook clients.

PKI has long been touted as the next big thing in information security. But the difficulty of putting in such systems and integrating them with other platfors has made the technology complicated and costly. Even though most aspects of the TSCP approach are public, it's unclear how much impact the approach will have in the wider world outside military organisations and their contractors.

"I don't know how much of this will end up public. Certainly I'm interested. And certainly email could use a major security overhaul," security guru Bruce Schneier told El Reg. "People are abandoning the medium in favour of others that are less spam-filled." ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.