Fighters can monitor networks for cyber-attacks with new encryptor

For the first time, warfighters will have access to a portable internet protocol encryptor that can be scaled to the operators’ data needs, simultaneously send encrypted and Ethernet signals, and able to scan the network for potential threats.

General Dynamics has developed the TACLANE-FLEX in order to ensure that personnel have access to an encryptor device that meets their size and bandwidth requirements, according to a press release.

“The TACLANE-FLEX encryption platform enables customers to field a single device that allows for various levels of customization including its ability to support layer 2 communications while maintaining interoperability with currently deployed HAIPE devices,” said Paul Pittelli, Chief of Information Assurance Capabilities at the NSA, which has certified the device.

This dual transmission capability is one of the two additional software programs that the TACLANE-FLEX offers. Described by Pitelli, the Agile Virtual Local Area Network software feature allows the device to send and receive data on a Non-IP Ethernet channel, also known as Layer 2, while still operating with High Assurance Internet Protocol Encryptor functions.

Warfighters or operators can have more flexibility with the network channels they are using, and make adjustments according to the volume and classification of the data they are sending. An ability that increases speed and bandwidth efficiency, according to General Dynamics.

The second additional software feature is the Trusted Sensor Software. The program is a Deep Packet Inspection-enabled sensor that is able to sense and deflect cyberattacks attempted through malicious data. General Dynamics reports that the sensor is unique in its ability to function in both open source network environments and classified government-only architectures.

“We're using the tools of encryption and the latest technology,” said Howard Schmidt, former White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, speaking at a Cyberspace Symposium a couple years ago. “All the sort of technologies that we are now beginning to slowly implement how we wind up creating an environment where we can trust this environment.”

As a High-Assurance Internet Protocol Encryptor device, the TACLANE-FLEX enables operators to securely exchange data and communication signals over lower classified or unsecured networks, according to a publication by the Army Chief Information Office.

Before transmitting data, an algorithm in the HAIPE compares the IP address of the receiving entity with a database of addresses in order to find the designated encrypted passage for that address, according to industry reports on HAIPE devices. If the address is unknown, a software algorithm will build a secure passageway.

The TACLANE-FLEX is the smallest HAIPE device, weighting less than five pounds. It is capable of supporting transmission speeds from 100 Mb/s to 1 Gb/s, according to a General Dynamics press release.

No purchases have been announced; however, the recent NSA certification of the TACLANE-FLEX makes it a viable tool for military cyber operations, according to defense sources.

About the Author

Katherine Owens is a freelance reporter for Defense Systems

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