Different tech for different problems

Officials at federal agencies are limited in their use of cryptographic technologies to those that have been validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. A listing of validated products is published on NIST's Web site at csrc.nist.gov/cryptval.

Many cryptographic products work at a network's application layer and therefore can be used to encrypt or digitally sign any kind of data format or network service, including Extensible Markup Language formats and Web services.

SSH Communications Security Corp.'s SSH Tectia Client and SSH Tectia Server software, for example, create a secure tunnel between desktop and server computers, said Byron Rashed, senior marketing communications manager at SSH. "Anything that goes though the tunnel will be encrypted," he said.

A cryptographic product such as Entrust Inc.'s Verification Server is used to create secure digital credentials. Entrust Messaging Server makes

e-mail secure.

"We work with application developers so that they understand what interfaces are available within the servers," said Gary Moore, chief architect at Entrust CygnaCom Solutions Inc., Entrust's security consulting and testing group.

The Entrust servers use Triple Data Encryption Standard and Advanced Encryption Standard for encrypting data. For digitally signing data, the servers support Digital Signature Standard and the elliptic curve Digital Signature Algorithm. By both encrypting and digitally signing data, the servers keep data private and guarantee that it has not been altered. Whether agency officials choose the verification or the messaging server, Moore said, "they can secure their information through these servers."

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.