Project Will Protect Top-Secret Secrets - InformationWeek

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Project Will Protect Top-Secret Secrets

L-3 and Kasten Chase are developing a remote access security system to protect access to classified U.S. government data

Defense communications firm L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and data security systems vendor Kasten Chase Applied Research have won a $6 million contract with the U.S. government to develop a system that provides secure remote access to highly classified data.

The companies will develop the security architecture for the government's High Assurance Remote Access (HARA) system, which is designed to let users securely access E-mail and classified data on dial-up networks. "This system wouldn't be widely available for all government users," says Kasten Chase director of investor relations John Carlesso, "just those that obtained special clearance."

The security architecture, dubbed Petra, will be developed over 18 months using secure terminal equipment from L-3's East division, which develops and sells classified communications hardware to military and government agencies, and on communications adapters, host software, and cryptographic tokens, such as PC cards, from Kasten Chase.

Security at government agencies had a high-profile status even before Sept. 11. Under the Government Information Security Reform Act, agency CIOs are expected to work with agency program officials to conduct annual security reviews of all agency programs and systems.

The Office of Management and Budget, which made its annual report to Congress on the results of these reviews earlier this month, said federal agencies must take a number of steps--such as increasing the degree of senior management attention to security, improving security education and awareness, fully integrating security into capital-planning and investment-control processes, and improving their ability to detect and share information on vulnerabilities--to address governmentwide IT security weaknesses.

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