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GCN : August 2015
[BrieFing] Given the government's current focus on protecting information, USMobile officials hope to find a ready market for an app that lets employees use their personal smartphones for top- secret communications. Scrambl3 creates a secure virtual private network that uses end-to-end encryption to send messages from personal devices to an agency server. The company developed the technol- ogy when it worked with the National Security Agency to create Fishbowl, a secure phone network available only to Defense Department users. "We've implemented Fishbowl in the form of a software-defined network, so all of those typical hard- ware components that you'd find in a mobile network --- routers, VPNs, gateways, firewalls, proxy servers --- all of those components are expressed or implemented in our system in the form of software," said Jon Hanour, USMobile's president and CEO. "We've made an affordable version of Fishbowl," he added. Scrambl3 uses a layered, defense- in-depth approach. Encrypted voice- over-IP calls travel through a VPN connection. When a user logs into the app on a smartphone, it creates a VPN that connects to the agency's server. With Scrambl3 Enterprise, admin- istrators can set up lists of contacts with whom each user can communi- cate via the VPN. Once connected, users can see who among their contacts is also logged in, and then choose whether to commu- nicate with them via email, voice call or text. "Once you establish this powerful VPN, you can run anything through it," Hanour said. "Anything that you can put on a server, you can use Scrambl3 to communicate with." Calls are highly encrypted until they reach the recipient, where the app decrypts them. That communica- tion happens at a top-secret grade level as specified by NSA. Despite that encryption/decryp- tion process, latency is unnoticeable, Hanour said. For additional protection, nothing is recorded --- users can't even leave voicemail --- unless the agency speci- fies otherwise. The law enforcement community is a prime customer for Scrambl3 because public cell phone networks don't meet heightened police security standards, and photographic evidence requires a secure uploading process. "The advantage of this architecture is that the communication that the mobile device management soft- ware would typically have with the device...can now run inside the VPN, so it makes that even more secure," Hanour said. "It creates value for the mobile device management system as well because you can protect it inside the VPN," he added. The solution is scheduled to be commercially available in October, and it will work with Android and Apple iOS devices. • NSA-grade mobile encryption on its way BY STEPHANIE KANOWITZ 6 GCN AUGUST 2015 • GCN.COM President Barack Obama wants an exascale computer, and he is creating a "whole-of-government" initiative to drive the development of super- computers that far outpace current models. In a July 29 executive order, Obama established the National Strategic Computing Initiative "to create a cohesive, multi-agency strategic vi- sion and federal investment strat- egy, executed in collaboration with industry and academia, to maximize the benefits of [high-performance computing] for the United States." NSCI will be driven largely by the National Science Foundation and the departments of Defense and Energy. In addition, NASA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institutes of Health and the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin- istration are designated as the five "deployment agencies" that will put the planned computers to use and take part in planning and develop- ment efforts. The fastest supercomputer in the world today is China's Tianhe-2, which runs at 33.86 petaflops. In April, DOE announced a $200 million investment in a supercomputer that is expected to produce a peak perfor- mance of 180 petaflops when it is delivered in 2018. Exascale computing, which is the stated goal for NSCI, means 1,000 petaflops or higher. • Obama seeks exascale computing BY TROY K. SCHNEIDER