Does a SCIF Have a Place in Your IT Infrastructure?

Posted by Enconnex Team on February 8, 2021

Remember the old “Get Smart” TV show? It featured a plastic apparatus called the “Cone of Silence,” designed to ensure the secrecy of conversations. However, the people inside the device couldn’t hear each other while everyone outside could hear the conversation easily.

The U.S. military and national security and intelligence agencies have their form of the Cone of Silence — except it works. A Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) is a room constructed to U.S. government standards to prevent outside surveillance and interception of highly sensitive information. It is designed to facilitate the handling of sensitive compartmented information (SCI), which involves intelligence sources and processes.

A SCIF may be set up in government buildings, private residences or hotel rooms, or onboard aircraft or ships. In some cases, an entire building is a SCIF in which all but the foyer is secure. SCIFs may be permanent, such as the White House Situation Room, or temporary structures set up as needed.

Typically, only individuals with the appropriate security clearances are allowed to enter a SCIF. If other personnel are given access, they must surrender all electronic devices and are not allowed to view classified information.


How SCIFs Apply to Information Technology

From a technology perspective, a SCIF is designed to prevent an attacker from gaining access to data by analyzing radio frequency (RF) signals and spurious electromagnetic emissions. Such attacks circumvent network security, encryption, and other cybersecurity countermeasures, enabling eavesdroppers to reproduce screens, record keystrokes, and capture data.

In addition to the construction requirements of the SCIF itself, intelligence community directives mandate the use of electronic equipment that complies with Telecommunications Electronics Materials Protected from Emanating Spurious Transmissions (TEMPEST) standards. Most of the emanation limits and testing processes are classified but suffice to say that TEMPEST has strict requirements for the electromagnetic shielding of equipment.

Organizations that develop and test software for the federal government are required to protect SCI in a manner consistent with SCIF specifications. However, building out and maintaining a SCIF is expensive. TEMPEST-compliant equipment is also expensive, lags current technology, and may not exist for innovative applications. These organizations need an alternative approach to meet SCI requirements.


Enconnex Can Help You Meet SCIF Requirements

The DefenseShield™ Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Hardened Enclosure from Enconnex delivers military-grade performance for general government applications at E3 test facilities. Tested, approved, and implemented by government agencies, internationally accredited labs, and communications companies, DefenseShield is the highest-quality and most secure hardened enclosure for high-security environments.

Features at a glance:

  • Made of galvanized metal and coated with a special copper-lined paint to block interference and limit RF signal leakage.
  • Effectively attenuates signals from 1MHz to 18GHz.
  • Integrates 10 235CFM fans that provide more than 10kW of cooling.
  • Can be configured to meet various connectivity and power requirements.
  • Features a standard footprint for integrating into any data center environment.
  • Allows the use of off-the-shelf electronics as opposed to expensive TEMPEST equipment and has a longer lifecycle.
  • Can be scaled to meet growing requirements by adding more racks.

The Enconnex DefenseShield (EMC) Hardened Enclosure provides shielding from electromagnetic interference at the server rack level in environments that must meet strict security and regulatory requirements for isolating sensitive data. DefenseShield's other main application is for real device testing for mobility customers. Contact us to discuss how DefenseShield can fit into your IT environment.

Posted by Enconnex Team on February 8, 2021

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