- By Dan Verton
- Sep 04, 2000
World War III
Montgomery, Ala. — James Adams, chief executive officer of iDefense
Inc., a network and computer security consulting firm, last week told a
crowd of Air Force communicators at the Air Force Information Technology
Conference here that Russian officials recently confided to him that they
consider World War III to be taking place right now with the United States.
Most top Russian officials apparently believe every software application
and desktop computer they buy from the U.S. is infected with either a monitoring
device or surveillance software provided by none other than the good old
National Security Agency.
However, Russia is not the only country taking part in this digital
world war, according to Adams. "Any hardware or software produced in Russia,
China, France or India," said Adams, "carries with it a very high risk of
transmitting all the data it contains back to its maker."
The Big Yankowski
Carl Yankowski, CEO of Palm Inc., maker of the popular Palm line of
handheld computers, said that one of the company's pilot projects with the
Navy depends heavily on what he called a group of military "screenagers."
Palm's handheld devices are being used aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation,
where a group of younger officers who grew up looking at a screen (i.e.,
a computer screen) are finding an endless array of new uses for the handheld
computers. Although that sounds about right, Yankowski could just as easily
have been talking about the boob tube.
Ever wonder just what it took for some federal agencies to combat the
"ILOVE YOU" e-mail virus? According to iDefense's Adams, who sits on one
of NSA's strategic advisory committees, the Labor Department expended 1,600
employee hours and 1,200 contractor hours trying to recover from the kiss
of near death. He also said that the Veterans Health Administration received
as many as 7 million of the little buggers.
No Intercepts column from a DOD-sponsored IT conference is complete
without a few words from Air Force Lt. Gen. John Woodward, the Joint Chiefs
of Staff J-6 and the Air Force director of communications. Woodward, who
is always good for a few jokes (desperately needed in Montgomery, Ala.,
in August), implored Montgomery officials to keep up support for the AFITC
show in the future. "Free coffee and doughnuts is a good deal for communications
warriors," Woodward said, referring to the standard Air Force breakfast
at the Montgomery Civic Center.
Woodward also said the Air Force will launch an enterprisewide portal
this fall, where contractors and airmen alike will be able to get the most
out of their Air Force experience. "We're looking at an Air Force portal
and we're serious about it," Woodward said. But wait: Notice what he didn't
say? "I didn't say [Air Combat Command] portal or [Electronic Systems Center
or Standard Systems Group] portal," Woodward said.
Apparently, the three-star meeting that took place a few months ago
to hash out which contracting organization in the service will provide the
"standard" contracting mechanism for the Air Force resulted in a movement
away from consolidation. Now the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come
together. Remember Lt. Col. Glenn Taylor, the former director of the Commercial
Information Technology Product Area Directorate at SSG? You'll recall that
when he retired a few months ago, ESC, the parent command of SSG, replaced
him with a full bird colonel, Col. Neal Fox. More political pull in the
tug of war between SSG and ACC?
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