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This section of the ISM provides guidance on cable management.

Applicability

The security controls in this section apply to new cable installations or upgrades. Organisations do not need to retrofit existing cable infrastructure to align with these security controls.

When designing cable management systems, the cable labelling and registration and the cable patching sections of these guidelines also apply.

This section is applicable to all domestic facilities. For deployable platforms or facilities outside of Australia, consult the emanation security section of these guidelines.

Implementation scenarios

This section provides common security controls for non-shared government facilities, shared government facilities and shared non-government facilities. Specific requirements for any of these scenarios will be identified as such.

A non-shared government facility is where the entire facility and personnel are cleared to the highest level of information processed in the facility.

A shared government facility is where the facility and personnel are cleared at different levels.

A shared non-government facility is where the facility is shared by government organisations and non-government organisations.

Cable sheaths and conduits

The cable’s protective sheath is not considered to be a conduit. However, for fibre-optic cables with subunits, the cable’s outer protective sheath is considered to be a conduit.

Cable standards

All cables should be installed by an endorsed cable installer to the relevant Australian Standards to ensure personnel safety and system availability.

Security Control: 0181; Revision: 2; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
Cables are installed in accordance with the relevant Australian Standards, as directed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Cable colours

The use of defined cable colours provides an easily recognisable cable management system.

Security Control: 0926; Revision: 7; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
The cable colours in the following table are used.

Cable Colour

System

TOP SECRET

Red

SECRET

Salmon (Pink)

PROTECTED

Blue

OFFICIAL

Black or grey

 

Cable colours for foreign systems in Australian facilities

 

Different cable colours for foreign systems in Australian facilities helps prevent unintended cross-patching of Australian and foreign systems.

 

Security Control: 0825; Revision: 2; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
Cable colours for foreign systems installed in Australian facilities are not the same colour as those used for Australian systems.

 

Security Control: 0826; Revision: 2; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
Cable colours used for foreign systems are agreed between the host organisation and the foreign system’s owner.

 

Cable colour non-conformance

 

In certain circumstances it may not be possible to use the correct cable colours. Under these circumstances organisations are to band cables with the appropriate colour. The banding of cables is to comply with the inspection points for the cables. The size of the cable bands should be easily visible from the inspection point. For large bundles on cable reticulation systems, band and label the entire bundle. It is important bands are robust and stand the test of time. Examples of appropriate cable bands include stick-on coloured labels, colour heat shrink, coloured ferrules or short lengths of banded conduit.

 

Security Control: 1215; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S
In non-TOP SECRET areas, cables with non-conformant cable colouring are banded with the appropriate colour at inspection points.

 

Security Control: 1216; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
In TOP SECRET areas, cables with non-conformant cable colouring are both banded with the appropriate colour and labelled at inspection points.

 

Inspecting cables

 

Regular inspection of cable installations is necessary to detect illicit tampering or degradation.

 

Security Control: 1112; Revision: 2; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
In non-shared government facilities, cables are inspectable at a minimum of five-metre intervals.

 

Security Control: 1118; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S
In non-TOP SECRET areas of shared government facilities, cables are inspectable at a minimum of five-metre intervals.

 

Security Control: 1119; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
In TOP SECRET areas of shared government facilities, cables are fully inspectable for their entire length.

 

Security Control: 1126; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S
In non-TOP SECRET areas of shared non-government facilities, cables are inspectable at a minimum of five-metre intervals.

 

Security Control: 0184; Revision: 2; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
In TOP SECRET areas of shared non-government facilities, cables are fully inspectable for their entire length.

 

Cable groupings

 

Grouping cables provides a method of sharing conduits and cable reticulation systems.

 

Security Control: 0187; Revision: 5; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
The approved group combinations for cables in the following table are used.

 

Group

Approved Combination

1

OFFICIAL

PROTECTED

2

SECRET

3

TOP SECRET

 

Use of fibre-optic cables

 

Fibre-optic cables do not produce, and are not influenced by, electromagnetic emanations. Therefore, they offer the highest degree of protection from electromagnetic emanation effects. Fibre-optic cables are also more difficult to tap than copper cables and many more fibres can be run per cable diameter than wired cables reducing cable infrastructure costs.

 

Security Control: 1111; Revision: 2; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
Fibre-optic cables are used for network infrastructure instead of copper cables.

 

Fibre-optic cables sharing a common conduit

 

Fibre-optic cables of various cable groups can share a common conduit to reduce costs.

 

Security Control: 0189; Revision: 2; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
With fibre-optic cables, the fibres in the sheath only carry a single group.

 

ISM - Security Control 0189

 

Security Control: 0190; Revision: 2; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
If a fibre-optic cable contains subunits, each subunit only carries a single group; however, each subunit in the cable can carry a different group.

 

ISM - Security Control 0190

 

Cables sharing a common reticulation system

 

Laying cables in a neat and controlled manner that allows for inspection reduces the need for individual cable trays.

 

Security Control: 1114; Revision: 2; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
Approved cable groups sharing a common reticulation system have a dividing partition or a visible gap between the differing cable groups.

 

Enclosed cable reticulation systems

 

In shared non-government facilities, cables are enclosed in a sealed reticulation system to prevent access and enhance cable management.

 

Security Control: 1130; Revision: 3; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
In shared non-government facilities, cables are run in an enclosed cable reticulation system.

 

Covers for enclosed cable reticulation systems

 

In shared non-government facilities, clear covers on enclosed reticulation systems are a convenient method of maintaining inspection and control requirements. Having clear covers face inwards increases their inspectability.

 

Security Control: 1164; Revision: 2; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
In shared non-government facilities, conduits or the front covers of ducts, cable trays in floors and ceilings, and associated fittings are clear plastic.

 

Sealing cable reticulation systems and conduits

 

In shared non-government facilities, Security Construction and Equipment Committee (SCEC) endorsed seals are used to provide evidence of any tampering or illicit access to cable reticulation systems while conduits are sealed with a visible smear of conduit glue to prevent access.

 

Security Control: 0195; Revision: 4; Updated: Dec-19; Applicability: TS
In shared non-government facilities, uniquely identifiable SCEC endorsed tamper-evident seals are used to seal all removable covers on reticulation systems.

 

Security Control: 0194; Revision: 2; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: TS
In shared non-government facilities, a visible smear of conduit glue is used to seal all plastic conduit joints and conduit runs connected by threaded lock nuts.

 

Connecting cable reticulation systems to cabinets

 

Strictly controlling the routing from cable management systems to cabinets prevents unauthorised modifications and tampering and provides easy inspection of cables.

 

Security Control: 1102; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S
In non-TOP SECRET areas, reticulation systems leading into cabinets are terminated as close as possible to the cabinet.

 

Security Control: 1101; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
In TOP SECRET areas, reticulation systems leading into cabinets in a secure communications or server room are terminated as close as possible to the cabinet.

 

Security Control: 1103; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
In TOP SECRET areas, reticulation systems leading into cabinets not in a secure communications or server room are terminated at the boundary of the cabinet.

 

Terminating cables in cabinets

 

Having individual or divided cabinets prevents accidental or deliberate cross-patching and makes visual inspection of cables and patching easier.

 

Security Control: 1098; Revision: 2; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S
Cables are terminated in individual cabinets, or for small systems, one cabinet with a division plate to delineate classifications.

 

Security Control: 1100; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: TS
TOP SECRET cables are terminated in an individual TOP SECRET cabinet.

 

Cabinet separation

 

Having a definite gap between cabinets allows for ease of inspection for any illicit cables or cross-patching.

 

Security Control: 1116; Revision: 3; Updated: Oct-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
There is a visible gap between TOP SECRET cabinets and cabinets of lower classifications.

 

Cables in walls

 

Cables run correctly in walls allow for neater installations while maintaining separation and inspection requirements.

 

Security Control: 1115; Revision: 4; Updated: Dec-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
Cables from cable trays to wall outlet boxes are run in flexible or plastic conduit.

 

Cables in party walls

 

In shared non-government facilities, cables are not allowed in a party wall. A party wall is a wall shared with an unsecured space where there is no control over access. An inner wall can be used to run cables where the space is sufficient for inspection of the cables.

 

Security Control: 1133; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: TS
In shared non-government facilities, cables are not run in a party wall.

 

Wall penetrations

 

In shared government facilities and shared non-government facilities, penetrating a wall into a lower classified space requires the integrity of the classified spaces to be maintained. As such, all cables are encased in conduit with no gaps in the wall around the conduit.

 

Security Control: 1122; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: TS
In shared government facilities, where wall penetrations exit into a lower classified space, cables are encased in conduit with all gaps between the conduit and the wall filled with an appropriate sealing compound.

 

Security Control: 1134; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: TS
In shared non-government facilities, where wall penetrations exit into a lower classified space, cables are encased in conduit with all gaps between the conduit and the wall filled with an appropriate sealing compound.

 

Wall outlet boxes

 

Wall outlet boxes are the main method of connecting cable infrastructure to workstations. They allow the management of cables and the type of connectors allocated to various systems.

 

Security Control: 1104; Revision: 2; Updated: Dec-19; Applicability: O, P, S
Cable groups sharing a wall outlet box use fibre-optic cables and different connectors on opposite sides of the wall outlet for each group.

 

Security Control: 1105; Revision: 2; Updated: Dec-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
TOP SECRET cables do not share a wall outlet box with cables of a lower classification.

 

Security Control: 1106; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
The connectors for TOP SECRET systems are different from those of systems of lower classifications.

 

Wall outlet box colours

 

The colouring of wall outlet boxes makes it easy to identify the sensitivity or classification of cable infrastructure.

 

Security Control: 1107; Revision: 3; Updated: Dec-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
The wall outlet box colours in the following table are used.

 

System

Wall Outlet Box Colour

TOP SECRET

Red

SECRET

Salmon (Pink)

PROTECTED

Blue

OFFICIAL

Black or grey

 

Wall outlet box covers

 

Transparent wall outlet box covers allow for inspection of cable cross-patching and tampering.

 

Security Control: 1109; Revision: 3; Updated: Dec-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS
Wall outlet box covers are clear plastic.

 

Audio secure spaces

 

Audio secure spaces are designed to prevent audio conversations from being overheard. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) should be consulted before any modifications are made to audio secure spaces.

 

Security Control: 0198; Revision: 2; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: TS
When penetrating an audio secured space, ASIO is consulted and all directions provided are complied with.

 

Power reticulation

 

In both shared government facilities and shared non-government facilities with TOP SECRET systems, it is important that TOP SECRET systems have control over the power system to prevent denial of service by deliberate or accidental means.

 

Security Control: 1123; Revision: 2; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: TS
In TOP SECRET areas of shared government facilities, a power distribution board with a feed from an Uninterruptible Power Supply is used to power all TOP SECRET ICT equipment.

 

Security Control: 1135; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: TS
In TOP SECRET areas of shared non-government facilities, a power distribution board with a feed from an Uninterruptible Power Supply is used to power all TOP SECRET ICT equipment.

 

Further information

 

Australian Standards for cables can be obtained from the Australian Communications and Media Authority at https://www.acma.gov.au/cabling-standards-and-regulations.

 

Further information on physical security for Security Zones and secure rooms can be found in the Attorney-General’s Department’s Protective Security Policy Framework, Entity facilities policy, at https://www.protectivesecurity.gov.au/physical/entity-facilities/Pages/default.aspx.

 

Further information on endorsed seals for various sealing requirements is available in the SCEC’s Security Equipment Evaluated Products List at https://www.scec.gov.au/catalogue.