Monday, December 7, 2009

Interceptor alarmed carrier PDS provides information assurance for National Security Information on SIPRNet and JWICS networks

Network Integrity Systems recently published a white paper that addresses the advantages of alarmed carrier PDS. Below is a summary of the white paper. Go to  for the full text.

With the explosion of SIPRNet and classified information systems throughout DoD and civilian government agencies, the potential vulnerabilities and resulting need for compensating measures to protect our National Security Systems has increased exponentially. With the amplified focus on Information Assurance, the Interceptor™ Optical Network Security System is being increasingly leveraged due to its ability to reduce the cost and complexity of network deployments while also significantly enhancing network security and information assurance.

Current situation:

  • The Committee on National Security Systems and NSTISSI 7003 provide the overarching national guidance to all DoD and civilian agencies for the protection of wireline and optical fiber Protective Distribution Systems (PDS) used to transmit unencrypted National Security Information. Per NSTISSI 7003 “…the emphasis of a PDS should be placed on ‘detection’ of attempted penetration in lieu of ‘prevention’ of penetration.”

  • Because of the emphasis on detection, Hardened Carrier PDS installations constructed of rigid metallic conduit require daily periodic visual inspections (PVIs) as the sole means to detect unauthorized access or tampering with the PDS.

  • With the recent growth of secure networks, the requirement to perform PVIs places a severe strain on manpower and results in infrequent or potentially neglected visual inspections.

  • To conduct the required PVIs, the PDS must be installed below the ceiling and in plain view. However, this makes the PDS obvious and readily accessible to any and all building occupants and visitors and ultimately more vulnerable to overt and covert attacks. 

  • To prevent unauthorized individuals from entering the PDS system via modular raceway, most agencies have established compensating measures such as the epoxying of all seams or through a more encompassing visual inspection that requires specialized training provided through a third party.
Alarmed carrier PDS solution:
  • Alarmed Carrier PDS addresses the primary intent of NSTISSI 7003 (detection) by replacing the PVIs with continuous monitoring of the raceway. This results in substantial savings in manpower – but more importantly, it eliminates the risk that an intrusion into the PDS goes unnoticed due to infrequent or neglected human inspections.
  • An alarmed system provides consistent and persistent protection, and only notifies personnel to perform an inspection in order to investigate potential suspicious activity.
  • Since alarming the PDS eliminates the requirements to perform daily visual inspections of the PDS, the resources formerly used to conduct that task can be assigned to other activities.

  • Since visual inspections are not required for an alarmed PDS, the rigid metallic carrier system can be placed in a non-visible location (i.e. below the floor or above the ceiling), which makes it much more difficult for a would-be intruder to gain access.
  • Since the carrier is out of sight, simple EMT can be used versus more expensive modular raceway products.
  • Unlike traditional alarm carrier systems that monitor attacks on the raceway, the Interceptor Optical Network Security System monitors fibers within the cables being protected, making the entire cable sensitive to abnormal manipulation and handling.

  • When the threat level warrants it, some agencies and military branches deem as a compliant PDS, flexible interlocking armored cables monitored by an Interceptor, installed without a rigid metallic carrier.
  • With the Interceptor PDS and Armored Cable solution, the network cabling, with its continuous protective armor, can now be run from point-to-point with no vulnerable access points at various junctions along the PDS.
An alarmed PDS offers significant advantages over a traditional hardened PDS by automating the inspections necessary to ensure that any penetration is detected, while still providing the robust physical protection of rigid metallic conduit capable of being placed out of sight. When conditions are acceptable, the expenses of a rigid metallic carrier system can be avoided altogether with the use of a monitoring system such as Interceptor and flexible interlocking armored cables, leading to tremendous cost savings and enhanced security.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welcome to the Network Integrity Systems blog

This is our first posting, and we are very excited to establish this blog as a forum to update PDS users, potential users and our business partners on NIS’s latest news, as well as educate those seeking to learn more about Alarmed Carrier PDS technology.

As we start adding content, please let us know what other information you would be interested in reading about, and we will do our best to accommodate.

Network Integrity Systems, Inc., specializes in solutions for the protection of secure networks and critical infrastructures. It was founded in 2003 in Conover, N.C., USA, by optical engineers and management personnel from Corning Cable Systems and Norscan, Inc.

In 2002, Norscan, a leader in telephony cable system monitoring products, addressed a requirement from a systems integrator working with the Air Force to develop an improved alarmed carrier PDS solution for protecting fiber optic networks in The Pentagon. This resulted in the development of the Interceptor™ Optical Network Security System, which meets National Security Agency requirements for the protection of fiber-optic data and telecommunications lines transmitting national security information. Network Integrity Systems received subsequentfunding from the U.S. Army Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM) and the U.S. Air Force Information Warfare Battlelab which accelerated technology development and made enhancements to the Interceptor product line.

Today, Interceptor is the only commercially available alarmed carrier PDS developed under Department of Defense guidance and financing specifically for information assurance and IT security applications. It has been deployed by the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and all branches of the United States military. In addition to protecting classified networks and national security information, Interceptor has also been deployed to facilitate increased collaboration and information sharing for anti-terrorism activities and to ensure continuity of operations (COOP) and availability of command and control networks, as well as critical infrastructures across the United States.

Network Integrity Systems is a founding partner of Communication Supply Corporation’s Secure(it) program – focused on enhancing the security and availability of high assurance networks and facilities throughout the Department of Defense and federal government.

For more information, visit, e-mail us at or call 877-NIS-4PDS.