• United States
Senior Editor, Network World

A better IPSec?

Feb 10, 20032 mins
Cellular NetworksEncryptionMobile

One option for the military to secure its wireless LANs in the future might be to use a protocol under development by the National Security Agency.

The secretive protocol, dubbed High-Assurance Internet Protocol Encryption (HAIPE, pronounced “Hay-P”), would work across wireless and wired networks, handling key exchange, authentication and encryption. It will be designed to work with secret algorithms written by the government, but might be flexible enough to swap in published, unclassified ones.

“HAIPE is the government’s version of IPSec, allowing a number of different algorithms to do key exchange,” says John Droge, vice president of business development at Rainbow Mykotronx, which makes an encryptor for the military and its partners. The company’s product, KIV-7, will support HAIPE once the protocol is completed, he says.

Anne Michael, director of security systems operations at vendor General Dynamics, says the NSA is intent on having the industry build equipment and write software in which encryption algorithms can be swapped out easily, unlike today. That will make it easier for companies to sell security products to the government and commercial sectors, she says.

The NSA, which has awarded contracts to work on HAIPE to Network Associates and BBN, among others, has not officially decided whether to openly publish the HAIPE specifications.