According to the Washington Post, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III just confirmed that a classified military network was breached with a single USB drive in 2008.
As a security expert, the fact that someone used a USB drive on the wrong machine isn’t surprising: it happens every day when people use these drives to swap files between work and home computers.
What is surprising is Lynn’s statement that: “code spread undetected on both classified and unclassified systems”. This suggests that neither the content of the files being distributed nor the network behavior of the malicious application were being analyzed – even on a secure network.
This incident demonstrates that even the most sensitive network can be breached if there is only a single layer of defense. With data loss prevention (DLP), intrusion detection, antivirus and integrity technology there should be multiple layers of defense seeking and listening for threats in a coordinated manner on any modern secure network.
The government’s reaction to the incident was also interesting: ban all USB drives. The military did it in 2008…and survived.
So what about the file transfers that needed to occur between the military’s various networks? Managed file transfer technology is all about answering that question, and answering it with easy-to-use, scalable solutions built on the concept of defense in depth.