Social networking has become a common form of communications, even for members of the military. But even an innocent post by combat troops can reveal whereabouts and other details that can be useful to an enemy. Fortunately, the same types of cybersecurity software tools that are used by private industry can also serve the military, such as URL-blocking software programs. Forcepoint, a commercial cybersecurity company jointly owned by Raytheon, is one of the firms developing cybersecurity tools that meet the requirements of military users.
The company’s cybersecurity software has developed into a system called Forcepoint Web Security, which provides features and functionality with broad appeal to both commercial and military users concerned with internet security. The defense-related background offered by Raytheon provides a tremendous advantage in the development of defense-grade cybersecurity tools.
According to Bob Hansmann, director of security technologies at Forcepoint, this combination of a commercial business operating with a military contractor leads to an enhanced final product. “It’s the epitome of how government and commerce can produce something better together than they can on their own,” he said. “They have a lot of similar needs. It’s not that the needs are different—it’s the nuances.”
Separate but Equal
One of the military strategies that has been applied to defend against computer/software hackers is known as cross-domain protection, which assumes that one computer network communicating with another puts both networks at risk, along with anything connected to either network. In terms of cybersecurity, as Michael K. Daly, chief technology officer at Raytheon Cybersecurity and Special Missions, explained: “What cross-domain brings is this concept of understanding which systems need to communicate with other systems, and helping to compartmentalize them.
“In the military context,” he added, “this idea of separation is a very strong concept. In the commercial sector, most folks do not apply that level of rigor, and instead have their financial systems, their engineering environment—everything—on one big network without firewalls or controls.” Cybersecurity is a new but important segment of modern electronic warfare (EW) practices, and infiltration into a defense communications network or database can be life-threatening. Techniques being developed by Forcepoint and Raytheon are helping to thwart military hackers, but they also provide benefits in the commercial business world.