By Noah Shachtman, WIRED
December 10, 2010 7:33 a.m. EST | Filed under: Web
"Unauthorized data transfers routinely occur on classified networks using removable media," a military order says.
(WIRED) -- 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.
Maj. Gen. Richard Webber, commander of Air Force Network Operations, issued the December 3 "Cyber Control Order" -- obtained by Danger Room -- 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.
Similar directives have gone out to the military's other branches.
"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.
It's one of a number of moves the Defense Department is making to prevent further disclosures of secret information in the wake of the WikiLeaks document dumps.
Pfc. Bradley Manning says he downloaded hundreds of thousands of files from SIPRNET to a CD marked "Lady Gaga" before giving the files to WikiLeaks.
To stop that from happening again, an August internal review suggested that the Pentagon disable all classified computers' ability to write to removable media.
About 60 percent of military machines are now connected to a Host Based Security System, which looks for anomalous behavior. And now there's this disk-banning order.
One military source who works on these networks says it will make the job harder; classified computers are often disconnected from the network, or are in low-bandwidth areas.
A DVD or a thumb drive is often the easiest way to get information from one machine to the next. "They were asking us to build homes before," the source says. "Now they're taking away our hammers."