Infected flash drive caused worst US military breach: Official

Last Updated: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 20:30

Washington: The most significant breach
of US defence department`s computer network ever in 2008
occurred when an infected flash drive was used in a military
laptop, a top Pentagon official has said.

The previously classified incident, which took place
in 2008 in the Middle East, was disclosed by Deputy Defence
Secretary William J Lynn in an article titled "Defending a New
Domain" posted on Foreign Affairs magazine`s website.
"The flash drive`s malicious computer code, placed
there by a foreign intelligence agency, uploaded itself onto a
network run by the US Central Command," Lynn

"That code spread undetected on both classified and
unclassified systems, establishing what amounted to a digital
beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers
under foreign control," he added.

This significant breach served as an important wake-up
call and led to a new Pentagon cyberdefence strategy known as
Operation Buckshot Yankee.

"The 2008 intrusion that led to Operation Buckshot
Yankee was not the only successful penetration. Adversaries
have acquired thousands of files from US networks and from the
networks of US allies and industry partners, including weapons
blueprints, operational plans, and surveillance data," Lynn
But he provided no details on specific files lost or
stolen in the attack.

After the incident, the Pentagon has built layered and
robust defences around military networks and inaugurated the
new US Cyber Command to integrate cyberdefence operations
across the military, he said.

And over the past ten years, the frequency and
sophistication of intrusions into US military networks have
increased exponentially.

Every day, US military and civilian networks are
probed thousands of times and scanned millions of times.

The Pentagon is now working with the Department of
Homeland Security to protect government networks and critical
infrastructure and with the United States` closest allies to
expand these defences internationally.


First Published: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 20:30

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