I'm having a strange moment of inner peace. I'm without a rant. Often my column is full of vinegar over some false security product claim, some incorrectly-held security belief, or some strange, insecure maneuver made by a recent client of mine. This week, it's all daisies and rainbows: I want to share a few cool security tidbits instead.
[ RogerGrimes's column is now a blog! Get the latest IT security news from the Security Adviser blog. ]
A few months ago, while giving a security presentation along with Symantec's senior vice president to a group of business leaders, I was approached by Pete Hernandez, a salesman from Emsec Systems. He told me about two cool products they are developing and selling for the wireless security world. These products recently started generating media buzz again and resparked my interest.
Emsec is headquartered in Hampton, VA, right down the street from Langley Air Force Base, the home base for spy planes, robotic warriors, and secret devices of all types. It's full of top-secret material and ripe for wireless spies.
Emsec's newest star product is an anti-EMI paint (really a polymer coating) that blocks most EMI and wireless emissions from entering or leaving a room, confined space, or box. You apply the coating, and you end up with an instant "cone of silence". Emsec originally developed the anti-EMI coating to shield small electronic avionic housing devices, radio control units, and transceivers, but it can now be applied to nearly any room for any anti-EMI or anti-wireless application.
What was once a military-only option has spread out to commercial companies. Robert Boyd, vice president and director of technology for Emsec says that "most of our commercial clients are DoD-related. But nonmilitary corporate espionage is becoming a bigger problem in our society, and CEOs are paying attention."
Emsec's coating blocks EMI and wireless transmissions in the 100 KHz to 18 GHz range up to 60 or more dBM (decibels per meter), including 802.11 transmissions, RF signatures, cell phones, Blackberries, monitors, cables, and printers. If your company is concerned about EMI or wireless transmissions, you might want to give Emsec a call. Prices run from $3-$4 per square foot, or about the same price you might pay for carpet.
An even cooler related product sold by Emsec's parent company, Unitech, is a "paint-on" antenna. It's the opposite of stopping EMI: Unitech can "paint" an antenna on nearly any material, including walls, fabrics, and double-curved surfaces. Unitech is experimenting with prototypes involving soldiers' ballistic helmets with the antenna fabricated in. In the future, soldiers may be wearing their transmitting and receiving antennas for battlefield transmissions, GPS device tracking, and live, real-time battle picture updates.
It kind of humbles me when I think about how I struggle to get 802.11i working at home with my open source firmware kit.