Feeds

US orders data lock down in wake of Wikileaks release

Shuts stable door on 'largest data spillage in American history'

Boost IT visibility and business value

The US government on Monday enacted new policies designed to prevent mass leaks similar to one rolled out over the weekend, when Wikileaks released thousands of classified diplomatic cables.

On Sunday, the Pentagon announced new procedures for the use of thumb drives. Computers that store classified data will no longer be able to write onto removable media, according to Politico. The measure was described as a “temporary technical solution” to the problem of Pentagon personnel who may move vast amounts of secret information to unclassified computer systems.

The Pentagon is also limiting the number of systems that access confidential data and to deploy a system to “monitor and detect suspicious, unusual or anomalous user behavior” that's similar to methods credit card companies use to detect fraud.

The procedures came as the White House Office of Management and Budget ordered all federal agencies to immediately review procedures in place for safeguarding sensitive data. In a directive issued Sunday, OMB director Jacob Lew called on agency heads to establish “a security assessment team” to review procedures for protecting intelligence information. Among other things, the new guidelines would ensure that employees can access sensitive data only when it's required for their jobs.

The new policies are designed to prevent the type of leaking that government investigators say they suspect of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. According to chat logs obtained and published in June by Wired.com, Manning admitted to intentionally stealing more than 250,000 secret documents using ruses that were painfully easy to carry out.

“I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’ erase the music then write a compressed split file,” he was quoted in the logs as saying. “[I] listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history. Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis … a perfect storm.”

In addition to introducing policies designed to plug leaks, the Obama Administration has characterized the Wikileaks release as an attack on the United States and has promised to take aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole the information. Some politicians, including Peter King, the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, have called on Attorney General Eric Holder to categorize Wikileaks as a terrorist organization to to prosecute founder Julian Assange for espionage.

Separately, Forbes is reporting that Wikileaks' next major leak will involve “tens of thousands of documents from a major U.S. financial firm” and will happen sometime early next year.

“It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume,” Assange told the publication. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.