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November 21, 2017

AWS goes undercover with new secret datacentre for spies

The new secret datacentre from AWS is not exclusively reserved for the US intelligence community.

By Tom Ball

The US intelligence community is set to receive backup from Amazon as the company announces a new secret datacentre region driven by AWS.

While the US intelligence community will have the freedom to access the service, it is not closed off to other intelligence organisations that are seeking to use it.

AWS has been engaged in work with the Central Intelligence Agency since 2014 when it set up a Top Secret Region following a $600 million agreement.

Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Amazon Web Services Worldwide Public Sector, said: “AWS now provides the U.S. Intelligence Community a commercial cloud capability across all classification levels: Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret. The U.S. Intelligence Community can now execute their missions with a common set of tools, a constant flow of the latest technology and the flexibility to rapidly scale with the mission.”

AWS goes undercover with new secret datacentre for spies

Government agencies that require the ‘secret’ conditions of the AWS datacentre will also qualify to access and use the service.

In a statement, AWS said: “The AWS Secret Region can operate workloads up to the Secret U.S. security classification level. The AWS Secret Region is readily available to the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) through the IC’s Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) contract with AWS. The AWS Secret Region also will be available to non-IC U.S. Government customers with appropriate Secret-level network access and their own contract vehicles for use of the AWS Secret Region.”

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With nation-state hacking so prominent at present, it seems like an essential precaution for intelligence agencies to take, with malicious actors likely to exploit weak areas opened up by the use of cutting edge cloud technologies.

“The AWS Top Secret Region was launched three years ago as the first air-gapped commercial cloud and customers across the U.S. Intelligence Community have made it a resounding success. Ultimately, this capability allows more agency collaboration, helps get critical information to decision makers faster, and enables an increase in our Nation’s Security,” Carlson said.

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