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Effective Shielding of RF Signals for Maximum IT Security
Cybersecurity is a highly complex process that must address a wide range of threats. Most people are familiar with “logical” security controls, which are designed to prevent unauthorized access to systems, applications, and data. These controls include passwords, firewalls, data encryption, and more.
Logical controls aren’t enough, however. IT security must also address the potential for the interception of communication transmissions. Traditionally, communications security (COMSEC) focused on the wiretapping of telephone lines. Today, “wiretapping” is considered an antiquated term because electronic communication is primarily wireless.
An effective COMSEC strategy should include emanation security controls to prevent the transmission of radio frequency (RF) signals and other electromagnetic radiation that could be intercepted and used by cybercriminals. TEMPEST (Telecommunications Electronics Materials Protected from Emanating Spurious Transmissions) is a U.S. National Security Agency specification for protecting against these kinds of threats.
A Brief History of TEMPEST
TEMPEST was the codename of a U.S. government project in the late 1960s that studied the susceptibility of computer and telecom devices to emit electromagnetic radiation in a manner that can be used to reconstruct intelligible data. Today, it is used to describe specialized monitoring equipment and shielded devices designed for cybersecurity.
- Monitoring equipment. TEMPEST receivers monitor a wide range of radio frequencies and use advanced algorithms to gain a picture of the original data.
- Shielded devices. There are three categories of TEMPEST-shielded devices, ranging from highly secure equipment available only to U.S. government agencies and approved contractors to devices for general commercial use.
TEMPEST devices are expensive and tend to lag behind current technology. In many cases, there is not a TEMPEST option for innovative applications. Additionally, U.S. government agencies and contractors often need shielded rooms called SCIFs (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities) to fully protect equipment from eavesdropping.
A Cost-Effective Approach to Shielding
Building out a SCIF is expensive, and the facility will require ongoing maintenance. When the goal is to shield IT equipment, a more cost-effective approach is to block electromagnetic emanations at the server rack level using copper and other materials. Shielded racks also make it possible to isolate specific equipment and scale the installation by simply adding more racks.
It’s important to note, however, that racks designed for industrial applications do not provide adequate shielding for cybersecurity. Highly sensitive applications and data require a high-performance shielded rack that is purpose-built for attenuating signals from 1MHz to 18GHz.
The High-Performance Shielded Rack from Enconnex
The Enconnex DefenseShield™ Cabinet is a standard 42U rack constructed from galvanized metal and coated with special copper-lined paint. The integrated cooling fans are also coated in the metal alloy paint and meshed with a copper and nickel material that allows air to pass through while blocking RF signals. Special materials are used to shield every opening.
DefenseShield™ is a high-performance shielded rack that is 50 percent less expensive than many competitive products. It has been tested, approved, and implemented by government agencies, internationally accredited labs, communications companies, and tech giants.
The product is customizable, with I/O panels that allow for multiple connectivity options and power line filters that can be outfitted with a range of receptacles or plugs to meet application requirements. You can also select from a variety of shelves, power options, etc.
Contact Enconnex to discuss how the DefenseShield™ Cabinet can enhance your cybersecurity strategy.
Posted by Enconnex Team on January 7, 2021