Identity management

DHS information network gets new authentication tech

The network that supports information sharing and collaboration among the Department of Homeland Security's federal, state and local partners is equipped with a new user identification and verification capability.

On April 7, DHS' Science and Technology Directorate said it has implemented the Backend Attribute Exchange on the Homeland Security Information Network. The exchange streamlines identity management by keeping users' security credentials stored on local systems but accessible from other network locations. It now allows users to verify their identities at HSIN outposts without their credentials having to move insecurely between the locations.

According to DHS officials, the exchange simplifies identification and verification by determining whether a user has a legitimate need to access information on another network in the system.

About 55,000 people use the 10-year-old HSIN for planning, response and daily operations, according to DHS. They include federal, state and local officials involved in law enforcement, public health, emergency services, infrastructure protection, port security and other functions that require access to homeland security information. Private-sector organizations are also eligible to join HSIN, which shares sensitive but unclassified information among members.

The system was developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Queralt, using DHS funding.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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