Trusted Computing Group Widens Security Specs Beyond Enterprise Networks

New specs include support for SCADA systems, physical access control systems, guest PCs, printers, and VOIP phones

LAS VEGAS -- INTEROP 2009 -- The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) here today announced that it has expanded its security architecture to protect any device on an IP network -- including SCADA systems, physical access control systems, guest PCs, printers, and VOIP phones.

TCG's updates to it security architecture, Trusted Network Connect (TNC), extend the set of industry-standard specifications for security beyond PCs on an enterprise network to remote users, and other systems outside the the enterprise network.

"The net effect is to deliver pervasive security with TNC everywhere on any IP network, not just on a LAN or wireless LAN, but on remote access and legacy systems," says Steve Hanna, co-chair of the Trusted Network Connect workgroup and distinguished engineer at Juniper Networks.

TCG released three new specifications that allow support for these devices and systems across multiple vendors' technologies. The first is IF-TLS, which uses the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, and expands TNC to non-802.1X environments and Web sessions, and provides constant "health monitoring" of those devices and systems.

The second new spec is Federated TNC 1.0, which is based on the federated identity standard SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) that authenticates users across their organization as well as other sites they communicate with. "This conveys TNC results between different domains," Hanna says. "You can have stronger security ... and a second Web server could save time by not having to do a health-check of your machine because it already would know it's healthy" via this standard, he says.

TNC also released the Clientless Endpoint Support Profile spec, which brings devices without native TNC support into the security fold -- printers, guest PCs, and VOIP phones, for instance.

"Our goal was to make it simple, not hard, for vendors to implement" these specifications, Hanna says.

The TCG also is working on a TNC certification program for vendors to prove their products are TNC-compliant and interoperate with other vendors' TNC-based products. TCG, which first announced the certification program last month at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, will host a "Plugfest" for interoperability testing. "Vendors will be able to get their products certified to show not only that they have passed interoperability testing at Plugfest ... but that their products meet and implement all requirements in the spec," Hanna says.

Meanwhile, TCG members including Hirsch Electronics, Infoblox, Juniper Networks, Lumeta Corporation, nSolutions, and Trapeze Networks, will demonstrate TNC in action here at Interop at the TCG booth (#869) on the show floor. The demo includes a physical security control system and a contactless smart card reader operating in a TNC environment.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Jackson Higgins, Editor-in-Chief, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Editor-in-Chief of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise Magazine, Virginia Business magazine, and other major media properties. Jackson Higgins was recently selected as one of the Top 10 Cybersecurity Journalists in the US, and named as one of Folio's 2019 Top Women in Media. She began her career as a sports writer in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and earned her BA at William & Mary. Follow her on Twitter @kjhiggins.

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