US Airforce bans removable media

The US Airforce has decided that the best way to prevent another Wikileaks fiasco is to ban all removable media.

It does not matter how good a soldier you are, if you are caught putting data on a CD,DVD and thumb-drive you could face a court-martial.

It’s too late to stop Wikileaks from publishing thousands more classified documents, nabbed from the Pentagon’s secret network. But the U.S. military is telling its troops to stop using CDs, DVDs, thumb drives and every other form of removable media,  or risk a court martial.

According to Wired,  the very model of a modern Major General Richard Webber, who is the commander of Air Force Network Operations has issued a “Cyber Control Order” which directs airmen to “immediately cease use of removable media on all systems, servers, and stand alone machines residing on SIPRNET,” the Defense Department’s secret network.

Wired said that other branches of the military have received similar orders.

The order said that unauthorized data transfers routinely occur on classified networks using removable media and are a method the insider threat uses to exploit classified information. To mitigate the activity, all Air Force organizations must immediately suspend all SIPRNET data transfer activities on removable media,” the order adds.

Pfc. Bradley Manning is alleged to have downloaded hundreds of thousands of files from SIPRNET to a CD marked “Lady Gaga” before giving the files to WikiLeaks.

More than 60 percent of military machines are now connected to a Host Based Security System, which looks for anomalous behaviour.

The order is going to cause some problems. Classified computers are often disconnected from the network, or are in low-bandwidth areas. This means that a DVD or a thumb drive is often the easiest way to get information from one machine to the next.

This is not the first time that the US military has attempted to ban the use of drives and disks. Two years ago it bought in a ban after the use of drives and disks helped spread a relatively unsophisticated worm onto hundreds of thousands of computers. This ban was lifted this February, after the worm cleanup effort, dubbed “Operational Buckshot Yankee,” was finally completed. Soon afterwards Manning is supposed to have started passing information to Wikileaks.