Pentagon Bans Flash Drives
And Carrier Pigeons
Day-Trending today is a unique but important story about National Security. If after WikiLeaks, anything Secret can still be considered to be National Security. However, it should not go unnoticed that the story is only breaking just now, after two years of technological change. In the world of computers and technology, two years is like 100 years of progress before electricity was invented.
The Pentagon, the U.S. national bastion of military defense and strategy, was compromised. In 2008. I don't think this was the first time the Pentagon had a security leak, there are famous examples of counter intelligence. However, this may be the dumbest. Apparently, according to the AP, a laptop computer issued to an unnamed U.S. military personnel was breached by an unrevealed entity by a static memory, or flash drive storage device. Whereupon the flash drive uploaded a "malicious code" that spread undetected to not one but multiple Pentagon computer systems including one of a classified status.
Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn released a statement through the Pentagon Wednesday that claimed, "It was a network administrator's worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary. This.. was the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever and it served as an important wake-up call."
It is hardly fair to continue this article from the stand point of this American reporter with children, in that, as "the worst fear" of mine is(being a hold-over from the Cold War): a nuclear strike. So, I think while it is a decent gesture of our U.S. military to 'include' us on the Top Secret scandal of the day, I still think National Security breach of the highest manner has occured. How do you let the cat out of the bag, and gently place the cat back in the bag? Or are we to disregard Classified Level, and merely say prayers of gratitude that, "So far, so good." I mean if it hasn't happened yet, then how likely could it be to happen now? This is a common defense to the non-existence of suitcase nukes, by the devils we know.
The AP goes on to say how important it is that all USB ports be removed from military laptops so that this kind of virus could never be introduced again, along with a lot of other wording that includes the explanation of the jump-drives that have been commonplace for over five years. The Defense Department also declined to comment on the guilty parties invovled, either implying they don't know, and don't want us to know they don't know; or, they know, but don't want the intruders to know we know who they are, as some sort of counter-counter-spying.
Lynn goes so far to alleviate our fears as to coining a new term: cyberdefense strategy. Hope and Fear. Here is a Fear statement from Lynn, "A dozen determined computer programmers can, if they find a vulnerability to exploit, threaten the United States global logistics network, steal its operational plans, blind its intelligence capabilities, or hinder its ability to deliver weapons on target."
How come the foreign or domestic terrorists can never potentially disable the IRS? Or traffic cams? Also, I can name one thief coder who changed the world with a certain social networking website, imagine what a dozen could do.
Finally, the AP quotes Defense officials saying that the military consists of 15,000 computer networks, seven million computers and suffer from millions of probes a day. I can still name one network: Darpa Net. I can see only one solution, kill the flash drive.