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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pentagon Will Fight Leaks by Consolidating Data

The US Department of Defense has decided to defeat hackers by putting all of data in one place. The cunning plan developed by some military geniuses is to consolidate the department’s 15,000 networks into a single “joint information environment” that would be protected by JIE, a new set of security protocols. The Pentagon called this a “single security architecture”, but the hackers would have a better name for it – a “target”.

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The Pentagon claims that the protocols will make it easier to detect intrusions and identify illegal “insiders” accessing a network. Media reports say that the brilliant idea was suggested by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs Army General Martin Dempsey. The plan suggests that the system can potentially save billions of dollars by eliminating redundant, overlapping systems.

There are some unhappy with the decision. Actually, there is a so-called “bureaucratic” reluctance to change the situation in the Pentagon, but the industry experts weren’t really surprised. In the meantime, the head of DISA, Air Force Lieutenant General Ronnie Hawkins, has warned that JIE was pushing the Department into unchartered territory. Hawkins described the venture as the digital equivalent of the Lewis and Clark expedition to the western US. It is known that JIE will be financed under the Pentagon’s $23 billion cybersecurity budget.

The experts point at the technology consideration as to whether 15,000 networks are able to coalesce into a common environment. It seems that it wouldn’t be a single architecture but more of a “standard security architecture”. In order to stop insider leaks, the JIE is supposed to track network activity through “identity access management” technology.

The supervisors of the system will have to look for warning signs of a potential insider threat – for example, whether people like Edward Snowden are authorized to be where they are at, and whether they have the administrative privileges. However, the plan can reverse and many industry observers point out that Snowden might have still slipped through the network, and in case of a consolidated network existence, the whistleblower would have had access to even more information.

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