How Do You Chart Your Course When the Target Keeps Changing? (Part1)

iBooks Bookshelf on iPadMy moment” on cyber warfare happened this spring at an Army command center not far from Boston, which is where MIT and the Massachusetts Silicon Suburbs offer delectable targets for our digital adversaries.

The garrison Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was hosting an Army MARS planning session that Saturday morning. I brought a PowerPoint presentation on military trends to share with members and the post anti-terrorism officer. The entire presentation was written into one of those nifty little $4.95 flash drives. That flash drive was one big mistake.

Of all the things to be carrying into a secure area on a military base, I had in my hand the same kind of concealable media that infected thousands of U.S. military computers with a Trojan horse virus in 2008. Fortunately, that incursion was detected before its plotters could trigger whatever invasive instruction was embedded within.

Understandably, flash drives have been unwelcome in secure areas ever since —in fact, absolutely forbidden for a while. It took a 14-month global computer cleanup costing the Defense Department somewhat over $1 billion to restore Information Assurance —the current term for MIL-STD (military standard) computer and network security.

Thank goodness it was my State MARS Director, Matt Hackman, and not the base protection officer who intercepted the tiny contraband. Also, thank goodness Matt had previously copied my slide show to an acceptable DVD. So the show went on.

These days everything one does with or around computers needs to be re-examined in the light of our country ominous vulnerabilities. The Internet, for so long the favored avenue to fun and games, is now seen as a fearsome Achilles’ heel. Even the innocuous home computer is suspect, to be fiercely protected, lest some malignant worm latches it into a botnet.

Continued... Next Part2

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