Keeping Data Secure in the Battlefield

Dec. 31, 2016
A hardware-based solution provides data security among different communications domains on the battlefield.

Data security is as essential on the battlefield as in the boardroom, although the plethora of different modern communications devices and protocols makes it ever more difficult to maintain information secrecy and security. Fortunately, Advatech Pacific Cross Domain Solutions has developed a tactical cross-domain solution that is well suited to the task.

TACDM provides hardware-enforced domain separation (see figure) that allows secure information sharing of actionable data in the most critical environments. The compact security device is militarized for use in tactical vehicles. It is National Security Agency (NSA)-certified for secret and below interoperability  (SABI) levels and on the UCDSMO control list (UCL). The TACDS security device essentially works by allowing users to program a set of rules by which different messages are filtered, allowing data to be blocked or selectively passed to different networks.

The device is a low-cost, low size, weight, and power (SWaP) design, at just 7 × 4 × 1.75 in. and 1.75 lb., but rugged and qualified to MIL-STD-810G, 461F, 1275, and 704F requirements. It can handle operating temperatures from –40 to +71°C and consumes 10 W from power supplies of +12 to +33 V dc. It is equipped with 10/100 Ethernet and RS-232 data ports.

This small unit serves as a secure guard between different network security levels and as protection against cyber attacks. It supports many different messaging formats through the use of pluggable filter interfaces. Such interfaces include support for configurable images (such as .jpg, .bmp, and .png formats); MIL-STD 6017/A/B variable message format (VMF); full motion video with key length value metadata (KLV-FMV); tactical ground reporting system (TIGR); and various radar formats.

It is compatible with many different operating modes and protocols, including unicast, multicast, and broadcast modes, in addition to TCP, UDP, PPP, IGMP, ARP, IPv4, and IPv6 protocols. As it provides security, it also enables high-speed communications, providing as many as 400 messages/s with latency of less than 10 ms for typical VMF messages. The KLV-FMV data rate is typically 12 Mb/s.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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