Navair gets plenty of wireless experience

For now, the Naval Air Warfare Center is using a virtual private network (VPN) solution to secure a wireless link between its enterprise network and a set of handheld computers carried by about 100 Navy officers and managers.

Soon, however, because of a Navy program to standardize certain computer systems, Navair will be required to move off the VPN and instead use Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry wireless handheld messaging devices, which comply with the government security standard Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 and use Triple Data Encryption Standard to secure transmissions.

"Today we are using our [personal digital assistant] of choice, which is a [Hewlett-Packard Co.] Compaq iPaq running [Microsoft Corp.'s] Windows CE, and the Certicom [Corp.'s] movianVPN" security software, said Ken Chrismond, a senior technical consultant at contractor MIL Corp. and a network manager at Navair.

Navair needed a secure, mobile computing and communication platform for admirals and other executives who must often make quick decisions. "They need to look at data in spreadsheets and to view PowerPoint presentations in order to communicate with one another in a collaborative decision-making process," Chrismond said.

With the current setup, Certicom's movianVPN client establishes a secure connection via a wireless network from the handheld computer to the VPN gateway at Navair's enterprise network. Navair uses the Cisco Systems Inc. Concentrator 3000 server on that network as its VPN gateway. As soon as the keys match between the movianVPN client and the Cisco Concentrator, the Certicom product opens a secure tunnel. "It takes two minutes," Chrismond said.

"Certicom works with about 12 VPN gateways that are on the market today," said Brendan Ziolo, Certicom director of marketing.

Still, the Navy Marine Corps Intranet program is requiring Navair to move off the Certicom VPN and use BlackBerry, the only PDA currently approved by NMCI.

Ironically, Research in Motion licensed part of BlackBerry's cryptographic module from Certicom. Navair, which tests products and manages projects for the Navy, chose to use Certicom's VPN for a number of reasons, including the company's FIPS 140-2 certification, its use of Advanced Encryption Standard and its customer support.

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.