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What Hollywood doesn’t tell you about data protection and security...

17 April 2018

Every time a data breach makes the headlines, it raises question marks about how secure data is, and makes people wonder if the organisation in question has what it takes to keep data secure.

So here’s the reality: Government communication, particularly when it is at a high level, is extremely secure and becoming more and more so with every year that passes.

The same is true of military communications and data encryption, an area in which we do a lot of work.

Most of us have seen a film where ‘data encryption’ takes place. In countless TV shows and movies, you’ll see a character using some sort of key to communicate or transfer data to another person or entity, who also possesses a similar piece of technology to receive and understand the data. Typically, this sort of technology is known as a CIK (Crypto Ignition Key), and although most instances of it in film and television are fictitious, the premise is anything but.

Most people understand that there are ways of producing secure access keys that allow two or more people to communicate, or take a particular action with both parties’ permission.

However, very few people know how these keys are produced.


This is even true in industry, where design engineers will often attempt to use other forms of data storage devices to create similar security ‘keys’, when in fact only dedicated industrial portable memory products, like those Nexus supplies, can really do the job.

What makes a CIK like the Datakey range we supply so attractive to security conscious clients is that it really is very secure.

There are two market leading products in the UK which protect voice, data and video communication up to and including UK Top Secret, and Datakey tokens play a key role in both, ensuring that the communication flows remain encrypted and protected from potential eavesdroppers.

All of these devices using the memory token as a CIK, support PRIME, the UK’s strategic standard for IP crypto. All network encryption devices with conformance to the PRIME framework are independently tested as part of the PRIME certification process.

As well as communication, memory tokens are used in security applications by both the military and the Government.

Some of these are ‘two key systems’, in which one key is assigned seniority as a ‘supervisor’ key.

Both keys are required if a certain action, ranging from opening a door to gaining access to armaments, is to be performed in the system.

This kind of operation often features a record keeping function on the key, which can be as complex as the software that runs it.

Normally though, the minimum data it would record would be the location of the key and the activities it has been used to perform.

Of course, in addition to data safety security, some designers have unique needs such as ruggedness, ingress protection or ease of operation – that’s why Datakey is hugely popular in the military.

And not only that: at the heart of most designs is the need for longevity – the last thing any design engineer wants to be doing is redesigning something at great expense five years later because the technology is no longer good enough.

And it’s this feature that sees a lot of Government and military bodies choosing Datakey – the blend of security and ruggedness, coupled with a lack of obsolescence makes them an ideal choice for those types of organisations.

We are committed along with ATEK (manufacturer of Datakey products) to ensuring that every product we sell can be re-ordered during the lifespan of the product the OEM builds it into, providing we can agree on a chip that will have the appropriate longevity itself.

The memory tokens used to secure communications are a great example of this kind of longevity.

The current token used in the PRIME network encryption devices has been available since the 1990s and will be available for many years to come. There is no other data storage technology that you could buy in the early 1990s that is still available now.

Of course, the range of Datakey portable data carriers have improved in that time, developing larger memory capacities and new functionality, but a customer who bought a specific memory Key or Token nearly twenty years ago can place an order for a like for like replacement today.

Want To Find Out More About CIKs?

Click Below To Download Our White Paper – Cryptographic Ignition Keys: Implementation Methodology and Guidance and discover:

  • How to select the right CIK for your application
  • The ‘science’ behind a CIK
  • How many CIK functions you should consider for your application
  • The main benefits of CIKs for your



 
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