A defence software developer has displayed a new product it claims prevents hackers from accessing secure systems through those systems' connection to insecure networks such as the Internet.
Canberra defence developer Vision Abell, in conjunction with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation's Starlight information security project, worked on the product as part of a project setup 10 years ago to research defence computer security needs, solutions for which commercial vendors were unable to provide.
The first of the Starlight family of products, the Interactive Link is undergoing a security evaluation program to ensure it meets the standards for national security.
The core of the system is a data diode which allows a one-way flow of information and effectively shuts out hackers, even when the secure system is connected to the Internet.
The first system will be delivered to Defence personnel early next year. When it is installed, users on secure networks can access lower-classification or insecure networks from a single workstation. Vision Abell says the information on the higher security network would be maintained.
The Interactive Link displays screens from both networks on the secure workstation at the same time. The operator can use an application such as Netscape on the insecure network and display this screen on the secure workstation. Data can then be cut from the Netscape screen and pasted into an application running on the secure network, but not the other way around.
Future additions to the product range include the controlled and audited transfer of information from higher to lower classified networks, as well as secure video conferencing.