DARPA has launched a program to develop secure handheld networks.
The Secure Handhelds on Assured Resilient networks at the tactical Edge (SHARE) program will tackle the problem of sharing classified data over congested tactical networks.
"The usual process for sharing such information requires an end-to-end connection to secure servers via a dedicated digital 'pipe' approved for the specific security level of data being transmitted," according to a DARPA announcement. "If that tactical network is overloaded or if a glitch causes a break in the digital chain, the message or data is typically lost and the process must be repeated until a connection is completed, potentially hindering the mission in fast-moving tactical situations. Additionally, the current computers and infrastructure needed to manage multiple levels of U.S. classified and coalition information are too bulky for tactical use in the field and can take months or longer to deploy."
"SHARE aims to create a system where information at multiple levels of security classification could be processed on a single handheld device using a resilient secure network that links devices without needing to route traffic through secure data centers," DARPA said. "This capability would be able to operate over existing commercial and military networks while maintaining the security of sensitive information and safety of operations."
SHARE will focus on three areas: technologies and policy tools for distributed tactical security management on handheld devices; networking technologies based on resilient and secure architectures that work in challenging environments; and software that rapidly configures security across the network. The goal is to allow a mix of devices and security classification levels to transmit secure information over unsecure networks.