Sunday, December 12, 2010 Military Bans Disks, Threatens Courts-Martial to Stop New Leaks

The military has taken action. Relating to the Wikileaks incident, the Pentagon itself has now banned any sort of removable media to be attached to computers connected with the SIPRNET (Secret Internet Protocol Router Network). This of course comes as a shock to no one. Whenever an attack is made a retaliation occurs. Military tactics 101. After the admittance of Pfc. Manning to the US supreme court last November, the military has been hard at work improving their security protocols regarding transferring confidential data. Pfc. Bradley Manning says he downloaded hundreds of thousands of files from SIPRNET to a CD marked “Lady Gaga” before giving the files to WikiLeaks.

Such a ban was attempted once before in 2008 when a computer worm infected the whole military network: hundreds and thousands of computers were out of action for many personnel. The ban was lifted this February after the final cleanups were complete. That is when Manning started to transmit file dumps to Wikileaks. The Pentagon has also disabled the ability of classified computers to copy data to external drives as well as creating a special HBSS (Host Based Security System) designed for the exact purpose of detecting such leaks.

Julian Assange - founder of Wikileaks
 These measures will make life harder for the soldiers struggling in the field. Most of the times, transferring data between machines via pen drives was a much easier and faster process. Internet connection is not always readily available, no backups can be made and this means loss of time for operatives. In the long run lives could be lost.

Although I applaud Wikileak's efforts at making many classified documents, that disclose valuable information about governments (conspiracy theories must be booming right now) readily available, I have to question the motives. Is Wikileaks just one journalist (Julian Assange) or a whole organization? How can we absolutely trust every single document if all media is supposedly at some level corrupt? But most importantly how can we trust soldiers in the field anymore after the Manning situation? Some secrets should never be told


Agnieszka said...

I always used to think my company was exaggerating not allowing us to work with pen drives. I hate to say it but maybe they were wiser than Pentagon... ;)