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DoD offering admin privileges on .mil Web sites

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Care to register a .mil Web site of your own for free? The DoD has gone out of its way to make it a snap. An unbelievably badly-protected admin interface welcomes you to register whatever domain you please (http://Rotten.mil anyone?), or edit anything they've already got. The interface is so ludicrously unprotected that it's been cached by Google and fails to mention that you must be authorized to muck about with it. Incredibly, default passwords are cheerfully provided on the page.

Following an anonymous tip from an observant Reg reader, we've encountered the page in question in the Google cache, and after a bit of our own poking about have also discovered an equally unprotected (and Google-cached) admin interface encouraging us to add a new user, like ourselves, say, which requires no authentication.

All you have to do is find that page and you can set yourself up with a user account, manage your new .mil Web site, fiddle about with other people's .mil Web sites, and generally make an incredible nuisance of yourself. We are, of course, straining against every natural, journalistic impulse in our beings by neglecting to mention any useful search strings with which to find it.

Another unprotected and cached page, this one discovered by our tipster, lists traffic to a major DoD Web site by URL/IP address. This worries us because it may list .mil sites and networked DoD machines that are not public, not hotlinked anywhere, and which might contain (or be networked with other machines that contain) sensitive data. Merely knowing that all those URLs and IP addys are valid and owned by DoD would give a significant advantage to attackers by narrowing their target area dramatically.

We have e-mailed the person who manages these sites - twice in fact - but so far have not been graced with a reply. We were hoping that they might be inclined to fix this mess quickly so that we could safely include the details in our report. Unfortunately we have to withhold them until we're confident that these security snafus are under control.

Ironically, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently ordered DoD to purge military Web sites of information that might benefit evildoers. That's all well and good, but it might behoove the DoD to stop offering them admin privileges first. ®

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