Boeing Integration Center: Safe Against Electronic Eavesdropping
Boardroom conversations secretly recorded from a remote site. Raided hard drives. Secret e-mails released to the public. Security breaches in today's corporate and government offices are better than anything even Hollywood could envision. In a world technologically equipped to protect physical access to sensitive information, it is the non-physical access - eavesdropping - that is behind many of today's security breaches.

Information that has monetary value is an indisputable target. Sooner or later, someone will try to take it. Access codes, patents, medical records, credit card records, new inventions, chemical formulas, research data, and corporate earnings, all have a monetary value and severe negative consequences if they were to fall into the wrong hands. Yet, at any given point in the day, these sensitive pieces of information are stored and discussed behind walls and doors that offer no barriers against eavesdropping; be it humanly audible or technology driven.

Easily available electronics and optoelectronics have made communication interception simple and cheap. Rudimentary equipment can be used to listen in on conversations behind closed doors, and to extract data from computers surrounded by unprotected walls. The current security focus has all eyes on access control, network security, surveillance systems, and the occasional bullet and blast resistant doors and windows. Sound security and evesdropping is taking a back seat, even though the damage it creates is always significantly more severe.

A case in point is the story of General Electric Co. of Fairfield, Connecticut who in recent years has suffered from a rash of industrial spying cases at its Schenectady plant. The damage cost the company millions of dollars and was one of the factors leading to the layoff of thousands of employees.

Corporate and international espionage is a real threat to government agencies, weapons manufacturers, and any company dealing with highly sensitive and potentially dangerous information. Boeing Strategic Architecture recognized this threat and planned for it.


What is Electronic Eavesdropping?
Electronic eavesdropping is the term applied to monitoring electronic radiation from computer equipment and reconstituting it into discernible information. Although this sounds like a highly technical process, sometimes it can be undertaken easily with inexpensive equipment. The method can be applied to most computer equipment, but it is particularly effective with conventional, CRT-based computers, situated in solitary locations close to the outer walls of a building.

Boeing Strategic Architecture operates the Boeing Integration Center and is also responsible for developing a company-wide strategic communication and information architecture, deploying this architecture in all Boeing systems, and certifying that all the systems interoperate. The initial Boeing Integration Center, or BIC as it is commonly referred to, is based in Anaheim, California and averages more than 5,000 visitors per year.

Embedded worldwide communications links enable the Integration Center to connect to Boeing facilities such as the Virtual Warfare Center in St. Louis, Missouri and the Integrated Technology Development Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, as well as other designated government and commercial simulation centers.

Boeing Strategic Architecture decided to add "BIC East" in order to meet the demand for large demonstrations and to provide a more convenient presentation location for those customers located on the East Coast.

BIC East is a high-tech facility that offers a secure presentation space for Boeing and its clients, namely the Pentagon. A primary concern was ensuring that BIC East be secured against electronic eavesdropping.


Radio Frequency Doors
Because of the sensitive nature of these presentations, the facility needed to be protected against electronic eavesdropping and spying that might be perpetrated by competitors, terrorists or other outside threats.

After researching the best building materials to meet this requirement, Gensler, the architect contracted for BIC East, called on Krieger Specialty Products, a door and window manufacturer specializing in sound and radio frequency shielding doors. Paul Green, Krieger' chief engineer, said that Gensler requested "radio frequency shielded doors that would look like high-tech office doors, rather than an ominous industrial looking vault door." Green was responsible for consulting with Gensler's project architects, and for providing specifications, and Auto CAD details for the radio frequency / acoustical doors. He was also tasked with providing guidance on the selection of hardware and compatibility with security hardware.

Krieger furnished BIC East with nine single 60 dB RF, STC-53 rated doors, eight single acoustical doors and a pair of stainless steel acoustical doors. These doors were strategically placed to deter electronic eavesdropping for a presentation space of approximately 10,600 square feet.


What the future holds
As physical and network based security becomes harder and harder to breach, culprits are going to turn more and more to the opportunities available via electronic eavesdropping. Security officers who recognize and accept the reality and severity of this threat, will be at the forefront of their industry.

Fortunately manufacturers are ready to meet their needs with products that offer radio frequency barrier technology. Companies such as Krieger Specialty Products have been developing doors and offering consulting on eavesdropping security, since the late 1980s. And companies like Boeing are leading the way for others to follow in its example of taking the threat seriously.

With the rise of global terrorism, identity theft and corporate espionage, the stakes are undeniably high. One security breach can cost millions of dollars of damage, or in extreme cases, the loss of human lives - a cost that no one can put a price tag on.
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