Secure data, insecure future


Edition three of our TechWatch publication includes a deep dive into Secure Communications across the defence and security market. Subscribe to all future editions of TechWatch in this article.

Secure data insecure future images shows depiction of two hands shaking with chain links for arms

Transfer request

In 1904, as the Russian fleet prepared for conflict with Japan, HMS Diana, a British ship stationed in the Suez Canal, was able to intercept Russian naval wireless signals for the first time in history.

An intelligence report on those signals shows that, not only were the Royal Navy interpreters unimpressed with their adversaries’ slow workrate, they were also particularly critical of the poor standard of grammar and spelling.

Today, the ability to intercept data transfer provides an opportunity for much richer insight. Maintaining global national security is still a contest of wills, but technology is changing its character - and with it, the vulnerabilities that must be addressed.

High stakes, low bitrates

As defence and security practices become more digital, so the volume of data transferred between organisations, forces and individuals has increased. Be it raw sensor data, commands, or situation analysis, every snippet has value to an enemy. The ability to rapidly share data has therefore become both advantage, and weakness.

Maintaining the integrity of data as it passes through the nodes of global defence and security has always been a priority, but it’s harder now than ever. The technology available to intercept signals has become smarter and more sophisticated. The technologies employed to prevent interception (and to detect it quickly when it has taken place) must keep up.

There are several novel technologies that offer to improve the current situation. The first is based on optical technology, the second is quantum based, and the third is an existing commercial approach that could be adapted to defence and security.

'Secure data, insecure future' is just one section of our Secure Communications Deep Dive in edition three of TechWatch!  We continue exploring three key technologies in detail as follows:

  • Technology #1: Optical Communication - message by laser light
  • Technology #2: Quantum Key Distribution - the end to eavesdropping?
  • Technology #3: Blockchain - there’s more to crypto than bitcoin