Fearing more Wikileaks, military bans DVDs, thumb drives

The US government, concerned of more 'Wikileaks', banned CDs, DVDs and USB drives from classified military computers.

Removable media such as CDs, DVDs and USB drives are no longer allowed on classified military computers.

The military's ban on discs is the latest government defense against Wikileaks, which in late November began publishing hundreds of thousands of confidential communications between the United States and its diplomats. Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of burning the correspondences to a CD marked "Lady Gaga" and giving it to Wikileaks.

The solution seems simple enough: Ban removable storage, and would-be leakers won't have any way to separate confidential files from the secret portion of the military's network. Troops risk a court martial for disobeying the order, Wired reports.

The only problem is that removable media is pretty important for classified computers, which are often disconnected from the military's network. The military order acknowledges that banning removable media will make operations harder, but to paraphrase, essentially says "too bad."

Banning DVDs and thumb drives might seem like an overreaction, but it's also a reminder that in the age of cloud computing, old fashioned removable media is still a huge security risk. See, for example, the fascinating story of a computer worm that infiltrated Iran's nuclear program. Because the facility was not connected to the Internet, the worm did its work by infecting residential computers in the area and patiently waiting for someone at the plant to take work home on a thumb drive.

Distrust the cloud if you will, but if you're dealing with sensitive information, sometimes it's the CD marked "Lady Gaga" that gets you.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags firewallsDrivesstoragehard drivessecurityhardware security componentsUSBusb storagenetwork securitystorage accessoryhdd

More about etworkGoogle

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jared Newman

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place