Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
SEI Podcast Series

Establishing Trust in Disconnected Environments

Grace Lewis


First responders, search-and-rescue teams, and military personnel often work in “tactical edge” environments defined by limited computing resources, rapidly changing mission requirements, high levels of stress, and limited connectivity. In these tactical edge environments, software applications that enable tasks such as face recognition, language translation, decision support, and mission planning and execution are critical due to computing and battery limitations on mobile devices. Our work on tactical cloudlets addresses some of these challenges by providing a forward-deployed platform for computation offload and data staging.


When establishing communication between two nodes, such as a mobile device and a tactical cloudlet in the field, identification, authentication, and authorization provide the information and assurances necessary for the nodes to trust each other (i.e., mutual trust). A common solution for establishing trust is to create and share credentials in advance and then use an online trusted authority to validate the credentials of the nodes. The tactical environments in which first responders, search-and-rescue, and military personnel operate, however, do not consistently provide access to that online authority or certificate repository because they are disconnected, intermittent, limited (DIL). In this podcast, Grace Lewis presents a solution for establishing trusted identities in disconnected environments based on secure key generation and exchange in the field, as well as an evaluation and implementation of the solution.




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About the Speaker

Grace Lewis

Grace A. Lewis is the principal investigator for the Tactical Computing and Communications and the Authentication and Authorization of Internet of Things (IoT) Devices in Edge Environments research projects. She is also the deputy lead for the SEI’s Tactical Technologies Group. Her main interests are edge computing, IoT security, mobile computing, service-oriented architecture, and cloud computing. Lewis has more than 25 years of professional software development experience in industry and research environments. Before joining the SEI, Lewis was chief of systems development for Icesi University, where she served as project manager and technical lead for the university-wide administrative systems.