05:28 PM

New Homeland Security Projects On Tap

Advanced cyber-security projects auger a growing market, with some analysts forecasting a $170 billion industry in 2006.

Analysts predict continued expansion of the homeland security market, and three technology companies are among the latest to take advantage of the growth.

Symbol Technologies and BARTEC unveiled explosion-protected mobile computers Tuesday, while Adventium Labs and 3Com announced a partnership to produce cyber security systems for the federal government.

The developments come as the Department of Homeland Security spends more than $40 billion -- $29 billion for discretionary use -- this year. Another $2.5 billion has been set aside for a federal bioshield project, which includes bio-surveillance.

Some analysts forecast a $170 billion industry in 2006, according to the New York Society of Security Analysts Web site. Mark Shaheen, a principal in Civitas Group LLC, an advisory and investment firm serving the homeland and national security markets, said the market isn't new.

"What September 11th did is accelerate trends in the market," he said. "We're seeing accelerated trends in what was a growing market anyway,"

The Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency is encouraging that growth. The agency is responsible for guiding scientific research and development in a way that helps protect the United States.

It recently selected 3Com and the non-profit research and development Adventium Labs to deploy advanced cyber security technology for critical infrastructure. The companies announced Tuesday that they will embark on a two-year project to add Virtual Private Groups to the 3Com Embedded Firewall.

The tamper resistant firewall protects shipboard computer networks for the U.S. Navy and financial transactions on Wall Street. The addition of the private groups will allow users to operate within organizations and across enterprise boundaries, while reducing effects of malicious or careless insiders, according to a joint announcement released Tuesday. The system will secure operations in water treatment, electrical power, and petrochemical refining, among others.

HSARPA Cyber Security Program Manager, Douglas Maughan said in a prepared statement that the firewall improvement directly contributes to the federal research project's goal of maintaining critical operations through accidents and deliberate sabotage.

Adventium Labs investigator Richard O'Brien said the air gaps that used to physically separate critical networks from other networks are disappearing. The private groups will maintain separation while allowing business applications tied to the Internet and other networks.

Meanwhile, Symbol Technologies and BARTEC are also capitalizing on the growing need for governments and large businesses to maintain continuity during emergencies.

They announced plans to deliver explosion-protected MC9000 mobile computers, designed for deployment in hazardous areas. The companies promised Tuesday that the MC9060exG and MC9060exK will improve efficiency. They are targeting customers in environmental protection, chemical, oil, pharmaceutical, natural gas, transportation, and energy industries.

"We are already seeing significant interest in explosion-protected versions of the MC9060," BARTEC Chief Executive Officer Ralph Koester said in a prepared statement.

Symbol Technologies Vice President of Mobile Computing, Chuck Dourlet said the new mobile computer provides offers access to plant operations, asset management, and fleet management where flammable gases may be present. The computer is based on Symbol's flagship MC9000 mobile computer platform. It features bar code scanning and local 802.11b wireless connectivity. One model is certified by the North American Underwriters Laboratory. Another meets European Union safety standards for hazardous locations.

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