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The Defense Department has been trying to kill the Common Access Card for a long time. Before it does so, it wants to make it more like a commonly used authentication measure: the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card.
Former DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen announced a two-year plan in June 2016 to move away from the CAC.
The CAC is a “smart” card about the size of a credit card, and is the standard identification issued to active duty uniformed service personnel, selected reserve, DOD civilian employees and eligible contractors, the DOD notes. It is also the principal card used to grant physical access to buildings and controlled spaces, and it gives users access to DOD computer networks and systems. Last year, the DOD tested alternatives to the CAC.
Before that replacement process is complete, the Pentagon wants to evolve the CAC to make it more like the PIV card, Andy Seymour, the DOD’s public key infrastructure manager, tells Federal News Radio. The goal is to bring more security and interoperability to the DOD’s authentication technology.
Directives Forthcoming for PIV Authentication
The PIV card was established during the George W. Bush administration under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12. The PIV authentication certificate helps a federal user prove their identity to get access to secure systems and data. PIV cards allow users to receive, store, recall and send information in a secure manner by encrypting the data, the Veterans Affairs Department notes.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), PIV authentication certificates on PIV cards (called “certs” for short in the IT security community) are “issued in a manner that satisfies the requirements for level of assurance 4 (LOA-4) for identity proofing, tokens, and token and credential management.”
“We are on the verge of releasing directives to the services that says you have 18 months to unlock the PIV certificate authentication that is currently on the card and start utilizing that for logical access,” Seymour tells Federal News Radio. “We are seeing the requirements that support PIV identity cert are more than what the CAC cert has.”
What’s behind the move? Seymour says “one of the big drivers” is to achieve “interoperability across the entire government space,” and not just DOD. The changes have been circulating in the military service branches for months and should not come as a surprise, according to Seymour.
“The identity management experts that I work with across the services all understand it. They all get it and know what it takes,” he tells Federal News Radio. “The Air Force folks already utilize this for other capabilities. They understand the PIV [authentication] and the certificate is on the CAC as we speak right now.”
In some of the military services, these authentications and certificates are locked and not viewable. For others, they can be unlocked.
There will likely be some hurdles ahead for DOD components, Seymour acknowledged. “They know it’s coming and they know it will be a challenge to reconfigure because you now have to look at the PIV [authentication] certificate instead of the CAC ID,” he says. “Some applications may have been using the email cert as identification and we will ask them to use the PIV [authentication] at the application level as well.”
The Benefits of a New Approach to Authentication
DOD likely wants to embrace the authentication approach taken by PIV because of how its authentication works. Federal News Radio reports:
NIST says the benefits of using the PIV authentication is systems and applications are using one certificate to perform a digital signature operation through the private key associated with the certificate, and that the system performing the authentication can verify the signature while also validating the certificate itself.
PIV cards can be used to access high-value systems and systems that require fewer security protections.
DOD is exploring other ways to improve the CAC, including something known as the opacity, which, Federal News Radio reports, “is protocol to protect contactless communication between the card and the system, and adding encrypted certificates that will let users do tap-and-go authentication.” This is crucial for first responders and others who need quick access to systems or facilities, the publication notes.
The effort to evolve beyond the CAC is an ongoing process, Seymour says. “The CAC is the anchor for everything for the DOD — physical access, logical access. It’s so difficult to try to do away with that and replace it with something else,” he says. “We are looking at a lot of multifactor authentication capabilities. We are looking at identity federation services. We are looking at federation with our mission partners. We’ve also got a big mobility program coming out of the Defense Information Systems Agency called Purebred that is going to help us with derived credentials on things like cell phones and make that user experience more frictionless and seamless.”
Nucleus Vision, the blockchain-based contactless identity management system and retail loyalty program powered by cryptocurrency, has today announced that Microsoft executive Ausaf Ahmad and digital currency experts Jaron Lukasiewicz and David Wachsman have joined as advisors to the company. Ahmad will serve as a blockchain technology advisor to Nucleus Vision. Lukasiewicz will advise the team on its business development and technical roadmaps, while Wachsman will guide the company’s long-term communications strategy.
See the press release below
Featured image: geralt / Pixabay
Nucleus Vision Adds Blockchain and Technology Experts as Advisors
Microsoft executive Ausaf Ahmad, blockchain veterans Jaron Lukasiewicz and David Wachsman join as advisors
New York, New York — January 18, 2018 — Nucleus Vision, the blockchain-based contactless identity management system and retail loyalty program powered by cryptocurrency, has today announced that Microsoft executive Ausaf Ahmad and digital currency experts Jaron Lukasiewicz and David Wachsman have joined as advisors to the company. Ahmad will serve as a blockchain technology advisor to Nucleus Vision. Lukasiewicz will advise the team on its business development and technical roadmaps, while Wachsman will guide the company’s long-term communications strategy.
Nucleus Vision CEO Abhishek Pitti said: “We are thrilled to have the support and guidance of Ausaf, Jaron, and David as advisors. Ausaf’s work managing Microsoft’s largest partners to drive blockchain and IoT innovation will be particularly helpful as we apply both technologies to the retail space, and Jaron’s vast experience as a blockchain entrepreneur and advisor to companies in the space will help us deploy and scale our platform for retailers. Furthermore, David’s experience developing media relations and communications strategies for the top companies in the blockchain space will prove indispensable as Nucleus Vision grows and scales.”
Ausaf Ahmad, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain Lead at Microsoft, has years of experience as a technologist. For the past two years, he has managed Microsoft’s largest and most influential partner ecosystem to drive key IoT and blockchain initiatives, along with overseeing key accounts for its Azure platform. Ahmad is also a veteran of Boeing, where he led analysis and design of commercial airplanes, and had a stint at Wall Street where he worked as an investment banking associate. Ahmad received his MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Ausaf Ahmad said: “I am very excited by the impact that Nucleus Vision will have on millions of customers and retailers around the world. Using its proprietary IoT sensor, Nucleus Vision is empowering brick-and-mortar stores to gain insights into previously inaccessible data about their customers. Add a blockchain-based loyalty program to the product offering, and you can see that Nucleus Vision is going to improve shoppers’ in-store experiences in clever and unprecedented ways.”
Jaron Lukasiewicz has been a notable figure in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries since 2012. Lukasiewicz founded and served as CEO of Coinsetter, a New York City-based bitcoin exchange, which was acquired by Kraken, the world’s largest digital asset exchange in Euro volume, in January 2016. The sale was, at the time, the largest merger-and-acquisition deal in Bitcoin history. Lukasiewicz also served as CEO of Cavirtex (Canadian Virtual Exchange), the oldest and largest Canadian bitcoin exchange, which was also acquired by Kraken in 2016. Lukasiewicz graduated from Rice University on the President’s Honor Roll with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Jaron Lukasiewicz said: “Nucleus Vision’s top-notch team and partnerships with a variety of industry leaders have primed the company for success. Its impressive application of blockchain technology to a real-world problem provides an innovative solution that will improve the state of the retail industry.”
David Wachsman is the Founder and CEO of Wachsman, the largest public relations firm specializing in digital currency and blockchain-based companies. Wachsman provides media relations, strategic communications, brand development, and corporate advisory services to many of the most indispensable companies in the financial technology, digital currency, and crypto-asset sectors. Wachsman represents prominent clients in the blockchain space, such as the Crypto Valley Association; Dash; Lisk; IOHK, the developers of Cardano; and Steemit. Previously, Wachsman led day-to-day operations for a boutique public relations agency in Manhattan and previously held roles in advertising, political affairs, and biotechnology.
David Wachsman said: “I am proud to join a project of the monumental vision and scope of Nucleus Vision. The company will radically transform the retail experience for millions of customers, and I am incredibly excited by this opportunity to develop a strategic plan for sharing Nucleus Vision’s milestones and achievements with the world.”
Due to high demand, Nucleus Vision closed its whitelist registration ahead of schedule on December 26, 2017, concluding with 47,146 registrants. Nucleus Vision plans to build the world’s first contactless identity management system and retail loyalty program powered by cryptocurrency.
For more information, please see the Nucleus Vision website at https://nucleus.vision/