When, almost exactly a year ago, military computers were invaded by a worm, the DoD forbade the use of USB thumb drives, memory sticks/cards and camera flash cards, although hard drives were OK as long as “proper procedures” were followed.
The past tense is used because, blogged Department of the Navy CIO Rob Carey recently, the ban has now been lifted.
because that doesn’t mean anyone anywhere will be able to use them in any context.
“The bottom line is, the days of using personally owned flash media or using flash media collected at conferences or trade shows are long gone,” said Carey, continuing »»»
What we connect to our home PCs is very different from what is and will be allowed to occur on DON networks. I expect (and support) that only approved, identifiable flash media of known origin will be permitted for use; and only by authorized and trained personnel, in support of mission-essential functions that could not be performed via non-flash media means. In the meantime, we are working on moving our access to information to the use of collaborative workspaces, file shares and portals within our protected enclaves. This will reduce our reliance on USB flash media, mitigate unnecessary risk to the GIG, and protect our data and information by keeping it stored within our network boundaries.
What does that mean, exactly?
“In the future, we expect that a government-owned and procured USB flash media, that is uniquely and electronically identifiable for use in support of mission-essential functions on DoD networks will be permitted for use by authorized individuals,” says the blog, adding:
“We are working on upgraded anti-virus and malware detection, alert and eradication capabilities as well as implementation of controls to deny network access to unauthorized USB flash media and revised operating procedures for scanning and cleaning flash media. Those who are authorized to use portable media devices will receive updated user training and awareness and be informed again of his/her accountability through compliance audits and inspections.
blogs - A Security Update: Flash Drives, September, 2009
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