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DEFENCE INDUSTRY: INFORMATION SECURITY


Jonathan Newell finds out from TÜV SÜD Product Service about Tempest testing for military equipment to ensure critical information doesn’t leak out across enemy lines


a safe haven for secrets N


ames can bemisleading and nonemoreso than the Tempest testing ofmilitary equipment, a name that implies action, high energy and conflict. In reality,


Tempest testing ismuchmore aligned to everyday electronic compliance testing, such as EMC, and is performed in the same laboratory complexes as consumer electronic equipment. Originally created by theNational


Technical Authority for Information Assurance (CESG), which is now part of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the purpose of Tempest testing is to overcome the vulnerabilities of classified information held or transmitted bymilitary equipment. If signals escape frommilitary kit, such


as IT equipment, communication systems and vehicles processing classified information, there is the possibility of


42 /// Environmental Engineering /// October 2017


unauthorised people, including enemy forces, picking up those signals and retrieving the sensitive information being carried. The result is a new battlefield on which the defence forces are fighting. They’re no longer just facingmen and machines but also increasingly the agents of cyber and electronic warfare. The word Tempest is used inmilitary


circles to describe electromagnetic signals emanating fromequipment, systems and entiremobile platforms and which can result in the recovery of sensitive information froma distance. As a result, NATO introduced a Tempest certification and testing programme to address the vulnerability of classified information, ensuring energy fromIT equipment, communication systems andmilitary platforms is not accessible to eavesdroppers.


Tempest:


MORE THAN EMC Tempest testing is thereforemore along the lines of cyber security certification than EMC validation, although aspects of both are involved. Unlike EMC testing, Tempest is less


interested in the level of these emissions than the data they carry. As far as Tempest is concerned, it isn’t a concern if a product or platform emits radio waves or interferes with other pieces of equipment, but rather if someone from outside can see classified data within those emissions. The NCSC Tempest service therefore


helps manufacturers to understand how vulnerable their ICT system is to unintentionally emitting classified information and then ensures that appropriate countermeasures are put in place for the level of risk.


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