Pentagon Hit by Unprecedented Cyber Attack
As a result of the cyber attack, the Defense Department has banned the use of external hardware devices throughout a vast network of military computers.

FOXNews.com

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Pentagon has suffered from a cyber attack so alarming that it has taken the unprecedented step of banning the use of external hardware devices, such as flash drives and DVD's, FOX News has learned.
The attack came in the form of a global virus or worm that is spreading rapidly throughout a number of military networks.

"We have detected a global virus for which there has been alerts, and we have seen some of this on our networks," a Pentagon official told FOX News. "We are now taking steps to mitigate the virus."

The official could not reveal the source of the attack because that information remains classified.

"Daily there are millions of scans of the GIG, but for security reasons we don't discuss the number of actual intrusions or attempts, or discuss specific measures commanders in the field may be taking to protect and defend our networks," the department said in an official statement.

Military computers are often referred to as part of the Global Information Grid, or GIG, a system composed of 17 million computers, many of which house classified or sensitive information.

FOX News obtained a copy of one memo sent out last week to an Army division within the Pentagon warning of the cyber attack.

"Due to the presence of commercial malware, CDR USSTRATCOM has banned the use of removable media (thumb drives, CDRs/DVDRs, floppy disks) on all DoD networks and computers effective immediately."

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Comment by Smitty on November 28, 2008 at 12:40pm
Russia suspected as point of origin
Julian E. Barnes
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON – Senior military leaders took the exceptional step of briefing President Bush this week on a severe and widespread electronic attack on U.S. Defense Department computers that might have originated in Russia, posing unusual concern among commanders and potential implications for national security.

Defense officials would not describe the extent of damage inflicted on military networks. But they said the attack struck hard at networks within U.S. Central Command, the headquarters that oversees U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and affected computers in combat zones.

The attack also penetrated at least one highly protected classified network.

Military computers regularly are beset by outside hackers, computer viruses and worms. But defense officials said the most recent attack involves an intrusive piece of malicious software, or malware, apparently designed specifically to target military networks.

“This one was significant; this one got our attention,” said one defense official, speaking on anonymity when discussing internal assessments.

Although officials are withholding many details, the attack underscores the increasing danger and potential significance of computer warfare, which defense experts say one day could be used to undermine even a militarily superior adversary.

Bush was briefed on the threat by Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Military electronics experts have not pinpointed the source or motive of the attack, and they could not say whether the destructive program was created by an individual hacker or the Russian government might have had some involvement. Defense experts might never be able to answer such questions, officials said.

The defense official said the military also has not learned whether the software’s designers specifically were targeting computers used by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Suspicions of Russian involvement come at an especially delicate time because of fraying relations between Washington and Moscow and growing tension over U.S. plans to develop a missile defense system in eastern Europe.

U.S. officials have worried in recent years about the possibility of cyberattacks from other countries, especially originating in China or Russia, whether sponsored by governments of those countries or launched by individual computer experts.

An electronic attack from Russia shut down government computers in Estonia in 2007. And officials believe that a series of electronic attacks were launched against Georgia at the same time as hostilities erupted between Moscow and Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, last summer.

Russia has denied official involvement in the Georgia attacks.
Comment by Jon Compton on November 21, 2008 at 11:51am
I forwarded the article to a friend of mine. He responded thusly:

When I was at Lockheed, the rule NASA set was "no VPNs." That means no remote, secure tunnel connections. They were convinced that VPN use is unsecure.

Of course, there were no rules regarding ordering DVD writers, flash drives, etc., for anyone who asked, and there was no screening of outgoing email.

Ergo, there was zero defense to prevent precisely this sort of thing, or to prevent employees from sending out (or carrying out) any sensitive data desired.

I brought up these deficiencies in a couple of meetings. The responsible NASA parties looked at me like I was month-old pizza.

The Air Force was even worse. When a large virus was meandering around the globe one morning, (ILoveYou? Michelangelo?) our email server was bombarded by a torrent of emails from external systems. We shut down the server for a few hours as a precaution just to prevent the disk from overloading with all of the nuisance mail. The Air Force at Edwards? All of their data processing systems were ground to a halt for three or four days. Their systems were loaded with zombies, their switching fabric was overloaded, etc.

Knuckleheads.
Comment by Smitty on November 21, 2008 at 8:39am
Let me say it - China among others, but hey it's a new era,,,,
Comment by Jon Compton on November 21, 2008 at 8:28am
Can I say it?








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