[ISN] New Defence Computer Keeps Hackers Out and Secret

From: mea culpa (jerichot_private)
Date: Thu Oct 15 1998 - 13:17:11 PDT

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    Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <ncb05t_private>
    15-10-1998 06:24 
    By Max Blenkin, Defence Correspondent
       CANBERRA, Oct 15 AAP - A world first computer security system aimed at
    keeping the hackers out and the secrets in while allowing Defence Force
    employees to surf the Net was today unveiled in Canberra. 
       Called an "interactive link" the system designed by defence electronics
    firm Vision Abell allows defence personnel working on secure computer
    systems to send e-mail or even surf the highly insecure Internet, all from
    the same terminal. 
       It was developed at the instigation of the Australian Defence Force
    based on technology developed by the Defence Science and Technology
    Organisation through its Starlight information security technology
       The first systems, comprising software and hardware in a modest-sized
    grey box, will be delivered to defence early next year. 
       Vision Abell says there is no comparable system available anywhere in
    the world and it has vast commercial potential, with an expected price tag
    of several thousand dollars. 
       Neville Middleton, Vision Abell's Canberra manager, said this was the
    first of a range of information security products stemming from the
    Starlight research. 
       "It is a very powerful demonstration of Australia's world class
    research and the ability of Australian industry to produce world class
    products from that research," he said today. 
       At the heart of the system is what Vision Abell calls a "data diode" 
    which allows information to travel one way but not the other. That
    effectively shuts hackers out, even though the secure system remains
    connected to the Internet. 
       Under development is another system now at concept demonstrator stage
    which allows information to be moved from a secure computer system onto
    the Internet or into another unsecure computer system. 
       It creates an audit record, showing what information was exported and
    who did it, should any defence employee be tempted to leak information to
    the other side. 
       DSTO research leader Brian Billard said research on information
    security started 10 years ago with a focus on defence computer security
    needs which could not be met from commercial sources. 
       He said a consortium led by Vision Abell was chosen in 1996 to develop
    the system for military use and eventually for commercial sale. 
       "There are a range of commercial products such as firewalls. But in a
    military environment where you are protecting secret and top secret data,
    you need something stronger," he said. 
       "We were not seeking to re-invent operating systems but rather to
    develop limited function high security devices which can be applied to
    commercial work station or various parts of a network." 
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