DOD reveals viral infection

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A virus infected two computers managed by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command operating on the Defense Department's classified Internet recently, according to Lt. Gen Larry Dodgen, head of the command.

Dodgen, speaking here at the Army Director of Information Management (DOIM) conference said two computers in the Space and Missile Defense command connected to the DOD Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) were infected because they did not have any virus protection.

The breach of security, Dodgen said, illustrated the need for "diligence, diligence, diligence" when it comes to information security and assurance — although he described his initial reaction to the incident as, "Who are we going to shoot?"

William Congo, a spokesman for the Huntsville, Ala.-based Space and Missile Defense Command said the two computers were located at a facility in Colorado Springs, Colo. The viruses were detected quickly and the two computers were then isolated from the SIPRNET, Congo added. The incident occurred "within the past month" and officials are still investigating the matter to determine how the infection occurred and prevent future occurrences, he said.

Other Army officials also underscored the need for better information security. Despite years of emphasis, the Army still does a poor job of protecting its information systems, said Lt. Gen Steve Boutelle, the Army's chief information officer, in a speech here. "How many accounts still have no password?" Boutelle asked.

But, he added, that will change now that "information assurance is a commander's responsibility," not just the job of the Army's IT establishment.

Linton Wells, acting secretary of networks and information integration also emphasized information security in his presentation. "Security is not an appliqué," or add-on in the era of network-centric warfare, Wells said. Security attributes must be built into systems from the start, he said, adding that the "most stupid thing" the military could do is build a "ubiquitous, global network that is insecure."

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