Securing the airwaves

When broadband wireless does come to handheld devices, providing security

for them will be a big headache. Using cell phones to make calls is one

thing, but when they are being used to send potentially sensitive information

across a network, that's altogether different.

"Wireless needs are generally the same as what they are for the wired world,

plus a lot more," said Mike Vergara, director of product marketing for RSA

Security Inc. and leader of the company's wireless security team. "You need

the same authentication, data privacy and data integrity features. And then

you need extra security in case the device is stolen, and you have to provide

all of that in a device with significantly more stringent size concerns.

Memory in a cell phone is a whole different thing [than that in a PC]."

The new generation of devices also must have their own version of a

wireless public-key infrastructure capability, something that will be a

major concern to government agencies. PKIs use cryptography to protect data

in transmission and digital certificates to ensure that only the authorized

recipient can decrypt the message.

However, the advantage is that wireless PKI is coming right on the heels

of development of the wired version, Vergara said.

"On the security side of this, people are starting to come together

on standards," Vergara said. "On the usability side, I don't know if I could

say the same thing."

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.