The world is astir over the data stolen from U.S. government secure facilities by PFC Bradley Manning and passed to the self-proclaimed crusader Julian Assange. This is an unconscionable act of treason and irresponsibility by all involved. Of course internal government communiques not intended for public consumption are candid and at times colorful. This is important to convey the true meaning of situations and personalities.
The elephant we are missing is the lack of protection of classified and sensitive data by our military and State Department. When an Army Private can walk out the door with Read/Write CDs (with Lady Gaga labels) filled with this level of critical data, how much other national security material is going down the road? The agencies and departments responsible for protecting secrets should be held accountable for not professionally carrying out their duties.
CDs, memory sticks and mobile devices have become ubiquitous in our everyday life, and these have the ability to photograph, record or store all types of data. Many facilities have stringent regulations to control the usage/possession of these devices within their operations areas. Yet, few if any have the technological systems to detect violations.
As the nation wrestles with cybersecurity, we should be concurrently focusing on the vulnerability of wireless networks and devices. Systems are commercially available to detect and disable the use of wireless devices in defined spaces. These systems also will detect the very affordable eavesdropping gadgets that use mobile phone connectivity.
And the rest of the elephant is in the private sector. How many corporations are lax in protecting their proprietary data from competitors and industrial espionage? In the 21st century workplace – whether it is public or private sector – we are all responsible for holding our critical data securely. From identity theft to national security, some very competent people are out to steal data through gaining access to unguarded networks.