By Kathleen Hickey
Special to GCN
Government defense and intelligence agencies have taken the wraps off a
lab opened in the first quarter of this year for testing and evaluating
wireless systems that transmit classified data.
The lab, developed by systems integrator Lockheed Martin, allows the
agencies to test 802.11 Wi-Fi or broadband satellite links on a
top-secret/sensitive compartmented information network.
The agencies will be able to test a broad spectrum of wireless networks,
including Bluetooth, 802.16 WiMax, cell phones, and Ku- and C-band
satellite communications. The lab is sealed and reinforced to ensure
that signals from the systems stay within the chamber.
The Wireless Cyber Security Center, based in Hanover, Md., will allow
agencies to define and evaluate wireless security strategies, policies
and concepts of operation. The facility also will support projects to
evaluate next-generation security technologies and assess
vulnerabilities. Officials can also use the installation to evaluate
mobile ad-hoc networks, which play an increasing role in battlefield
Government agencies already are using the lab to conduct vulnerability
testing, said Lockheed Martin spokesman Mattt Kramer. Results from the
lab and the processes are secured, and they can potentially be labeled
top secret, he said.
"We provide an actual classified environment using those technologies..
You can simulate it, but it's no substitute for the real thing." Testing
these technologies over an actual network would potentially expose
risks, Kramer said.
Wireless networks in use by the government today are not necessarily
connected to a classified network, said Kramer. Defense and intelligence
agencies are interested in testing these wireless networks to
potentially transfer top-secret information over them.
The lab is one of only a handful capable of testing commercial wireless
cybersecurity, said Kramer.
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