• “Consider the use of smart cards ... for especially critical functions.  Although more costly than software, when properly implemented the assurance gain is great.  The form-factor is not as important as the existence of an isolated processor and address space for assured operations – an ‘Island of Security,’ if you will.  Such devices can communicate with each other through secure protocols and provide a web of security connecting secure nodes located across a sea of insecurity in the global net.”

    Brian Snow, Former Technical Director of the US National Security Agency (NSA), "We need assurance!", 1999-2008

  • In the next five years we will counter many 'hacker' attacks but we will not be safe from Nation States and other large entities

    Brian Snow, Former Technical Director of the US National Security Agency (NSA), "We need assurance!", 1999-2008

  • “We are a cyber nation. The U.S. information infrastructure--including telecommunications and computer networks and systems and the data that reside on them--is critical to virtually every aspect of modern life. This information infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to exploitation, disruption, and destruction by a growing array of adversaries.”

    The National Coordination Office (NCO) for Networking Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD), Federal Register: December 30, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 250).

  • “Never underestimate the attention, risk, money and time that an opponent will put into reading traffic.”

    Robert Morris, former Chief Scientist of the US National Security Agency (NSA), National Computer Security Center, "Crypto '95 invited talks by R. Morris and A. Shamir", 1995

  • "My colleagues at MIT and I have been building simple quantum computers and executing quantum algorithms since 1996, as have other scientists around the world. Quantum computers work as promised. If they can be scaled up, to thousands or tens of thousands of qubits from their current size of a dozen or so, watch out!

    Prof Seth Lloyd of MIT, MIT Review 2008

  • “The more complex the threats become, the more you have to do the basics and groundwork really well. Staying aware and on top of new vulnerabilities and ensuring that patches and software updates are rapidly implemented is crucial.”

    Jeff Shipley, Cisco Intelligence Collection Manager, Cisco 2008 Annual Security Report

  • “The current way which organisations approach security can be recognised as an underlying market failure which consists of fire fighting security problems, silo'd implementation of technologies, uncontrolled application development practices and a failure to address systemic problems. Organisations tend to deal with one problem at a time that results in the deployment of point solutions to treat singular problems. This failure is typical of an uncontrolled marketplace evolving with little or no co-ordination.

    The British Government’s Technology Strategy Board, 2008
  • “When will we be secure? Nobody knows for sure – but it cannot happen before commercial security products and services possess not only enough functionality to satisfy customers’ stated needs, but also sufficient assurance of quality, reliability, safety, and appropriateness for use. Such assurances are lacking in most of today’s commercial security products and services.”

    Brian Snow, Former Technical Director of the US National Security Agency (NSA), "We need Assurance", 2005

  • "There is a good chance that large quantum computers can be built within the next 20 years.  This would be a nightmare for IT security if there are no fully developed, implemented, and standardized post-quantum signature schemes."

    Prof. Johannes Buchmann, et al, “Post-Quantum Signatures”, Oct 2004, Technische Universität Darmstadt

  • "Given their power to intercept and disrupt secret communications, it is not surprising that quantum computers have the attention of various U.S. government agencies.  The National Security Agency, which supports research in quantum computing, candidly declares that given its interest in keeping U.S. government communications secure, it is loath to see quantum computers built. On the other hand, if they can be built, then it wants to have the first one.”

    Prof Seth Lloyd of MIT, MIT Review 2008

  • "History has taught us: never underestimate the amount of money, time, and effort someone will expend to thwart a security system. It's always better to assume the worst. Assume your adversaries are better than they are. Assume science and technology will soon be able to do things they cannot yet. Give yourself a margin for error. Give yourself more security than you need today. When the unexpected happens, you'll be glad you did."

    Bruce Schneier, "Why Cryptography Is Harder Than It Looks", 1997
Resources Frequently asked questions Security in general fact: Security is on the 2009 agenda for America
fact: Security is on the 2009 agenda for America


The incoming U.S. President Elect, Barack Obama, has outlined a Homeland Security agenda here.

The agenda outlines the need for a hardened computing infrastructure in the United States.

This is an ambitious project that would require the entire network communications system to be upgraded and every network attached computer hardened. Synaptic technologies are targeted towards this type of endeavour.

The line between government infrastructure, commercial infrastructure and personal computer has blurred.  Today critical communications infrastructure, commercial networks and home networks are often built using exactly the same hardware and software. This is a natural result of economies of scale and the need to interoperate. The line is further blurred when we consider that today over a million computers attached to the Internet have been hacked. These computers are being used to conduct co-ordinated attacks against commercial and government organisations, and even against the insecure network infrastructure itself.

The techniques required to design and build reliable, high assurance devices are known. They are used daily in the medical, aviation, nuclear and defense sectors. Synaptic incrementally enhances known trusted protocols and algorithms to achieve 50-to-100 year security in large scale public networks. Synaptic has filed patent applications over the hardware and software techniques that enable these low cost, scalable, long-lived security systems to be designed using conservative well studied cryptographic components. These components can be deployed incrementally but they are also smaller parts of a larger vision to deploy a new hardened communications infrastructure that is being designed as a cryptographic high-assurance project from it's inception.  A universal network carrier that is capable of retroactively upgrading the security and performance of all carried data and voice communications protocols.

The Synaptic technologies relate specifically to the following points quoted from the Obama-Biden Homeland Security plan:

  • Initiate a Safe Computing R&D Effort and Harden our Nation's Cyber Infrastructure: Support an initiative to develop next-generation secure computers and networking for national security applications. Work with industry and academia to develop and deploy a new generation of secure hardware and software for our critical cyber infrastructure.
  • Protect the IT Infrastructure That Keeps America's Economy Safe: Work with the private sector to establish tough new standards for cyber security and physical resilience.
  • Create a National Infrastructure Protection Plan: Develop an effective critical infrastructure protection and resiliency plan for the nation and work with the private sector to ensure that targets are protected against all hazards.
  • Build-in Security: Ensure that security is considered and built into the design of new infrastructure, so that our critical assets are protected from the start and more resilient to naturally-occurring and deliberate threats throughout their life-cycle.
  • Prevent Corporate Cyber-Espionage: Work with industry to develop the systems necessary to protect our nation's trade secrets and our research and development. Innovations in software, engineering, pharmaceuticals and other fields are being stolen online from U.S. businesses at an alarming rate.
  • Develop a Cyber Crime Strategy to Minimize the Opportunities for Criminal Profit: Shut down the mechanisms used to transmit criminal profits by shutting down untraceable Internet payment schemes. Initiate a grant and training program to provide federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to detect and prosecute cyber crime.
  • Mandate Standards for Securing Personal Data and Require Companies to Disclose Personal Information Data Breaches: Partner with industry and our citizens to secure personal data stored on government and private systems. Institute a common standard for securing such data across industries and protect the rights of individuals in the information age.
  • Give Real Authority to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board: Support efforts to strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board with subpoena powers and reporting responsibilities. Give the Board a robust mandate designed to protect American civil liberties and demand transparency from the Board to ensure accountability.
  • Invest in Critical Infrastructure Projects: Invest in our nation's most pressing short and long-term infrastructure needs, including modernizing our electrical grid and upgrading our highway, rail, ports, water, and aviation infrastructure. Establish a Grid Modernization Commission to facilitate adoption of Smart Grid practices to improve efficiency and security of our electricity grid.

 

 
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