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CACI upgrades SteelBox mobile encryption programme

US information technology company CACI International are unveiling several upgrades to its SteelBox secure mobile communications software application for classified and controlled unclassified information (CUI).

The current variant of the SteelBox programme, a joint venture between CACI and Blackberry, “is fully up and running” a year after making its official debut as the first purpose-built mobile communication encryption application designed for use at the classified and unclassified level, said Kerry Leo, vice-president for homeland and national defence at CACI. “It is proven, it is tested, it is built” Leo said on 11 August.

Currently, programme officials are putting the final touches on the FedRAMP systems security package for SteelBox, with several end user customers “shifting into the final certification process with us” for FedRAMP certification, he added.

Work on the SteelBox programme began in 2018, under a Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) programme from the National Security Agency (NSA). The programme was built to operate on the Microsoft Azure government cloud, while the standard underlying architecture developed by the NSA supports the CUI variant and eventual classified variant of SteelBox. The programme is designed to allow encrypted voice and text data transmissions at Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256, between mobile communication platforms equipped with the SteelBox application.

AES-256 is the first and only publicly accessible encryption cipher standard approved by the NSA for securing classified and top-secret information.

A rendering of CACI International’s SteelBox secure mobile communications architecture. Company officials announced a new partnership with RigNet Inc. to allow external access to the SteelBox system from any cell phone. (Credit: CACI International)

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