Air Force making progress on standard cryptographic modules for information security

The U.S. Air Force, through the Mitre Corp. in Bedford, Mass., has a draft standard and working code for what is expected to be an easy and relatively inexpensive approach to cryptographic modules for military information security.

Apr 1st, 2008

By John Keller

SAN DIEGO—The U.S. Air Force, through the Mitre Corp. in Bedford, Mass., has a draft standard and working code for what is expected to be an easy and relatively inexpensive approach to cryptographic modules for military information security.

The standard and working code is part of an initiative called the Common Interface Cryptographic Module (CICM), which is part of the Air Force Cryptographic Modernization program. The CICM program “is real, and has running code today,” says Dan Lanz, information security engineer at the Mitre Corp. in Bedford, Mass. “The real goal is to save money.”

Lanz made his comments in an address in March to the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum conference and trade show in San Diego.

The next draft version of CICM should be finished in April, and CICM version 1.0 should be available sometime in 2009, Lanz told MAEF attendees.

The CICM crypto module essentially is an information gate keeper between secret and non-secure information on a computer or in a network. It is a consistent interface to access cryptographic service, Lanz explains.

No generic cryptographic module interface standard exists today in the tightly controlled military “Type-1” world, although generic crypto modules do exist in commercial business, he says. CICM is intended to help quicken secure software development time, help software developers adapt quickly and easily to changing requirements, and promote software reuse.

Mitre engineers have developed CICM working code that they wrote for the U.S. Air Force’s Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) program, and Lanz says the company is willing to share sample code to those in industry who are interested.

Mitre also will supply the latest CICM specification to those in industry who want it.

To ask for the latest CICM specification, for sample code, or for more information, contact Dan Lanz at the Mitre Corp. in Bedford, Mass., by phone at 781-271-2204, or by e-mail at dlanz@mitre.org.

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