Print 18 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Feb 24 at 3:10 PM

Only specific drives will be allowed and rules for use are strict

Viruses and malware are a big issue for any computer user be the user a civilian trying to surf the net at home or a government installation with national security secrets tucked away inside its networks. One of the most common ways to move data from computer to computer and take data on the road today is the common flash drive.

The U.S. military has taken a harsh stance on USB drives and thumb drives after a virus infection stemming from a thumb drive infected networks in November of 2008 prompting a complete ban on thumb drives in any DoD computer. The ban not only included thumb drives, but also banned users from connecting PMPs, digital cameras and other devices with internal flash storage to computer networks.

Defense News reports that the Pentagon is now ready to remove the ban on thumb drives, but the lift of the ban is contingent on following strict rules and is for limited use of thumb drives. The DoD will only allow "specific thumb drives" and accompanying kits using hardware and software to remove and viruses or malware from the drives to be used. Vice Admiral Carl Mauney, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command said that right now, the military has only a few dozen kits and all were built in a laboratory.

One official referred to the kits as "malware scrubbing kiosks." The drives are heading to Afghanistan and are expected to be useful at combat command centers and analysis centers according to Mauney. Defense News offers a few of the rules for using the thumb drives from a statement that was issued on February 19. The rules are as follows:

"Only properly inventoried, government-procured and owned devices will be allowed for use in DoD's information systems."

"Personally-owned devices are prohibited on all DoD networks and computers."

The new government-owned and approved drives cannot be used in personal or other non-government computers or networks without specific approval.

Thumb drives and other flash media are to be used "only as a last resort" for transferring information from computer to computer or from place to place. When other network resources are available, they should be used instead.

The rules also stipulate that to ensure procedures are being followed "randomly selected users and drives will be subject to periodic auditing," according to the Strategic Command. Individual commanders will be able to decide if the use of the flash drives will be allowed in their organizations. Some commanders developed methods of moving data without needing thumb drives during the ban and may elect to continue using the same methods.

Few details were offered on the thumb drives used in the kits. One official stated that the thumb drives encrypted all data that was on the drive and the drives require a password or fingerprint to access the data. The drives also have anti-virus protection and other security features to prevent certain types of data from being copied or stored on the drive. Security may also prevent users form storing unapproved data on the drives.

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I want one.
By SilthDraeth on 2/22/2010 10:22:42 AM , Rating: 5
I never even thought to want a grenade thumb drive until now. And now I really want one.

RE: I want one.
By Brandon Hill on 2/22/2010 10:28:54 AM , Rating: 5
I wouldn't be surprised if a student was expelled for bringing one of these things to school thanks to "zero tolerance" policies...

RE: I want one.
By Souka on 2/22/2010 12:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
RE: I want one.
By SandmanWN on 2/22/2010 1:55:10 PM , Rating: 2
RE: I want one.
By Etern205 on 2/23/2010 1:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
RE: I want one.
By Omega215D on 2/22/2010 10:32:45 PM , Rating: 2
Why not, they already suspended a student for bringing in a toy gun that belongs to a LEGO soldier. Thankfully people saw that as outrageous and the principle caught a lot of flack from it.

RE: I want one.
By Lerianis on 2/24/2010 3:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
Zero tolerance policies are stupid..... that's why anytime a student gets in trouble now under those policies, the PTA makes a BIG stink about it.... they are going for having those policies rescinded and SANE polices put into place.

RE: I want one.
By AmbroseAthan on 2/22/2010 10:34:11 AM , Rating: 2
RE: I want one.
By Reclaimer77 on 2/22/2010 10:37:58 AM , Rating: 1
Meah, the form factor is too big, and would block other USB ports in most applications.

RE: I want one.
By AstroCreep on 2/22/2010 11:06:15 AM , Rating: 2
If I were going for a novelty thumb drive, I'd go for the one shaped like a thumb.

RE: I want one.
By Aberforth on 2/22/2010 11:15:35 AM , Rating: 2
Really? Try carrying one to the airport (especially in your pant pocket)- you'll have an out of body experience for sure. How cool would it be if the same guy writea an article about it?

RE: I want one.
By axeman1957 on 2/22/2010 1:51:32 PM , Rating: 2
i will stick with my bottle opener thumb drive...

Can we please stop...
By redbone75 on 2/22/2010 3:45:37 PM , Rating: 3
...with the articles that start off sounding like term papers? I would think the readers of Dailytech don't need a primer on the security issues that viruses and malware present, nor do they need a primer on how information is moved from computer to computer by thumb drives. Just jump right into it. It's a blog. You're not in high school trying to pass English (or are your?). If you want an opening paragraph, try starting off with something witty or maybe describe some recent security issues the Pentagon has experienced. You have to admit that "One of the most common ways to move data from computer to computer..." is a bit droll.

RE: Can we please stop...
By Marlonsm on 2/22/2010 4:44:12 PM , Rating: 2
Without them the articles would be very short.
Some wouldn't get past the headline.

If you don't like that, just skip that part of the article.

RE: Can we please stop...
By redbone75 on 2/22/2010 6:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter if it's short or long, just leave out the fluff. I'd rather a short post that's interesting than a long post that I have to scan through just to find what is actually being written about. Is it not the opening that's supposed to grab your attention? Also, it's a bit silly to say "just skip that part of the article" when the whole purpose is to read it. Which paragraph did you decide you'd begin with?

RE: Can we please stop...
By TSS on 2/23/2010 8:16:31 AM , Rating: 2
If the information presented is worth nothing, the article is short to begin with.

For this paticular instance it's even worth less then nothing, it's worth enough frustration for one of the readers to make a comment about it.

Might as well leave it out then.

Couldn't they just...
By Marlonsm on 2/22/2010 2:19:27 PM , Rating: 3
...disable autorun. (And encrypt the drives if they have important information)

Also, tell the employees not to click "YourPictures.exe"

RE: Couldn't they just...
By marvdmartian on 2/23/2010 9:03:28 AM , Rating: 2
They could. But that would make too much sense. Plus, government IT weenies have 10x worse attitude than any other ones out there, simply due to the extra (ridiculously excessive) security they put on their networks.

Which, by the way, did NOTHING to keep the network from becoming infected when some winner plugged their thumb drive with a virus on it, into their computer.

Yes, this all came about from ONE person. Now the only way you can download pictures from your camera is to plug it into a computer that is not connected to the network and will not be connected to it, download the pictures, then burn them to a blank cd. And it has to be done by your network administrator.

YEAH........ **sigh**

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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