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CHIPS Articles: NSA has SWAG: Information Assurance Research Project to Enhance Cybersecurity

NSA has SWAG: Information Assurance Research Project to Enhance Cybersecurity
By NSA News - October 30, 2017
When it comes to information security, passwords are one of the weakest links in the chain because there are countless ways they can be compromised. The need for so many passwords in our day-to-day lives spurs insecure practices such as writing them down, unwise sharing, and using predictable values.

ABC123, anyone?

To make matters more challenging, longer and longer passwords are required to keep pace with technology. Creating and remembering today's multiple passwords can be difficult enough, leading users to remain logged in when they leave their workstations. Furthermore, it is difficult to recall and enter multiple passwords under the stress of tactical and harsh environments. Combat zones are but one example.

So, how can the government help strengthen the information security chain and prevent potential security risks? Enter NSA.

The National Security Agency's Information Assurance Research Group is currently working on the "Secure Wearable Authentication Gear" (SWAG) project, which offers a frictionless, wristband-based system to ensure and confirm a user's identity.

Wearable technology will use cryptography to replace vulnerable passwords with a simple tap, and a proximity monitor will automatically lock the system when the user leaves the vicinity. On the whole, SWAG will position the U.S. Department of Defense to make the most of capabilities inherent in the internet of things.

This project reflects the National Security Agency's ongoing research to advance cybersecurity in mission applications across both the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community.

An initial design from the SWAG project shown. NSA image.
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