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Secure PCs
Ruggedized computer systems

In the late 1990s, cipher machines and other dedicated cryptographic devices were gradually phased out in favour of modern personal computers (PCs). Today, most encryption systems are software based and run on standard PCs or dedicated terminals. When used by the military, such PCs have to be ruggedized in order to withstand the harsh circumstances in the battle field.

Most, if not all, military PCs are based on Intel processors and are capable of running popular operating systems, such as Windows, Linux and Unix. Ruggedized PCs are often large and heavy, as they have to feature a standard keyboard and a reasonably sized LCD screen.

Military PCs for portable and mobile (field) applications, however, are often much smaller. Sometimes they are small enough to be attached to a soldiers webbing. On some machines, special provisions are present for the quick deletion of cryptographic keys.

Although most military-grade PCs have a high TEMPEST, they are by nature non-secure devices, due to the fact that commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) operating systems, such as Windows, are commonly used. For COMSEC applications, an additional data encryption unit is often required. Furthermore, special measures should be taken to avoid side channel leakage.

Secure PCs on this website
Termite LT-450N
DRS Rugged System / DRS Technologies / LXI laptop
Index of PCs
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Last changed: Sunday, 29 August 2021 - 14:58 CET.
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