State buys portables for classified data processing
- By Frank Tiboni
- Oct 12, 1998
The State Department has awarded four contracts for extra-secure portable computers
from Cycomm Secure Solutions Inc. of Sebastian, Fla.
Because of the products sensitive nature, department officials cannot discuss how
the products work, said John Arbin, States information systems manager.
Dulles Networking Associates of Chantilly, Va., Intelligent Decisions Inc. of
Chantilly, MegaByte Business Systems Inc. of Richmond, Va., and Office Solutions Inc. of
Alexandria, Va., won the State contracts.
The products, Tempest and Zone portables, eliminate information disclosed through the
computers electromagnetic radiation, said Don Gangemi, president and chief executive
officer of Cycomm Secure Solutions.
Computers emit electromagnetic radiation, which can carry data pressed out of the CPU.
Someone with the right kind of receiver within a mile of that computer can steal the
information, Gangemi said.
State requires that officials working on certain documents here or overseas use secure
computers, depending on the classification level of their work. Secretary of State
Madeleine K. Albright and her staff members have used the companys notebooks when
they travel abroad, Gangemi said.
Both products eliminate electromagnetic radiation, but they do it to different degrees,
Tempest, the more expensive of the two at more than twice the cost of a typical
portable, meets the classified specifications set by the National Security Agency, Gangemi
State-tailored Zone costs about 20 to 100 percent more than a typical portable,
depending on the modifications to its risk management program.
The program compares the vulnerability and threat level to the cost of the
countermeasure, Gangemi said.
Cycomm is the second vendor to supply such products to State. Wang Laboratories Inc.
also has provided the department with secure computers.
Initial orders for the products have run about $500,000. The four vendors expect orders
to increase to total $1.5 to $2 million by the end of the year, Gangemi said.
The rapidly growing climate for secured computing has highlighted the need for
proprietary, secured technologies that Cycomm provides, Gangemi said.