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The Next Generation of Wireless Situational Awareness

Gary Schluckbier

06/15/20

Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, said, “The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” If any part of your mission involves protecting sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs), then you understand how this philosophy can apply to safeguarding these areas from wireless device intrusion. Unauthorized portable electronic devices (PEDs), as well as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, pose risks to sensitive areas that are pervasive and always changing. But the RF signals that would carry a SCIF’s secrets away are also what let us know there’s a problem. With the right tools that constantly scan the environment to detect and locate these RF transmitters, the devices in question can’t hide.

The Internet of Threats

The proliferation of PEDs and IoT devices with internet connectivity has exploded so much in recent years that it might be easier to list the things in the home or office that are not smart. Chances are there are multiple smart devices within arm’s reach of you as you read this. In fact, every second 127 new IoT devices are connected to the Internet. That’s a lot of things - things specifically designed to collect and send data to other things - that can find their way into places they aren’t supposed to be. Of course, the vast majority of these devices are carried into SCIFs by accident: someone forgets their Bluetooth keychain in their pocket, or a fitness tracker doesn’t get left in the locker before the meeting starts. Anyone can overlook a personal device, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Accessing or even exfiltrating protected information by mistake could still result in serious consequences.

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Traditionally, watching for rogue wireless activity inside a SCIF has been a losing proposition and often a manual job. The lack of viable options is just part of the problem. Wireless detection is often limited to Wi-Fi, which is a bit like locking your car door but leaving the window rolled down. Wi-Fi accounts for a small minority of wireless threats and protecting against insider threats without taking Bluetooth and cellular into consideration is short-sighted.

The Next Generation of Wireless Detection

Enter Epiq Solutions' Flying Fox, the next generation of wireless situational awareness based on software-defined radio (SDR) technology. We developed Flying Fox in conjunction with the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and it’s the only solution that provides insight and analysis of the full spectrum of PED and IoT threats – a single system to detect and locate Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals. In addition to Wi-Fi devices, Flying Fox detects and locates Bluetooth devices such as smartwatches, headsets, microphones, and speakers. Flying Fox also detects and locates phones and devices that use cellular technology to share information. Its patented SDR technology goes beyond RF energy detection by decoding messages between a handset and a cell tower ensuring around-the-clock detection with perfect accuracy. The Flying Fox system has the added benefit of being future proof. As cellular and IoT protocols evolve, the solution continues to be always up-to-date with only a software upgrade. 

Flying Fox is also on the Department of Defense Information Network (DoDIN) approved products list (APL) proving compliance with security requirements, and simplifying the process of implementing the solution in the DoD.

Identifying and mitigating wireless threats is a real-world mission that happens in your space every time an unauthorized PED makes it into the room. Arming yourself with tools that allow you to see everything across the RF spectrum is the only way for you to be sure you’re aware of all the potential threats coming through your door. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Epiq Solutions, a company that has shipped more than 10,000 software defined radios, and Flying Fox can help protect your SCIF or other secure space, we’d love to hear from you. You can also check out this case study: a real life example of how Flying Fox is providing 24/7 detection on a joint military base.

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