Feeds

Military industrial complex aims to revamp email

Trust but verify

Security for virtualized datacentres

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.