Fort Hood gets spyware

"Downloading shared files threatens security"

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Officials at Intrusion announced earlier this week that Army officials at Fort Hood, Texas, chose the company's SecureNet and SpySnare products to better protect computer systems at the service's largest base in the world.

Army officials hope the $800,000 deal detects and blocks hackings, spyware infections and unauthorized peer-to-peer communications. A story published last April by the service's Network Enterprise Technology Command cites the downloading of music and peer-to-peer applications (p2p) by soldiers on Army computers as serious threats to network security.

"We're taking a proactive stance to make ourselves better and more relevant in our information warfare and cybersecurity mission," said Army Lt. Col. Ed Morris, director of the Directorate of Information Management at Fort Hood, in a Jan. 3 statement issued by Intrusion. "With the SecureNet deployment at Fort Hood, we are able to get specific details about whom we're fighting and from where they came. Once we get the enemy in our sights, we're able to take aim and eliminate the offender."

Spyware represents technology that helps gather data about people or organizations without their knowledge. Also called spybot and tracking software, it is often installed on a computer when users download files or visit a Web site, according to Whatis.com. Fort Hood officials started using the products from the Texas-based company last month. They deployed SecureNet at the base's department level and SpySnare at the network perimeter to better detect threats across the entire network, according to the statement.

"These spyware programs started out originally as just a nuisance to our users, but today, they're beginning to impact the reliability of our systems and have even broader implications related to the security of our data," said Army Maj. Bert Belisch, 114th Signal Battalion operations and planning officer, in the statement. "Now that we added the Intrusion SpySnare sensor at the firewall, we're able to spot and block unauthorized p2p sessions, file transfers and spyware infections across the entire site."

Engineers at Intrusion follow a three-pronged strategy when working with Army officials and other customers, said Ben Bittle, director of product management, during a telephone interview. He said they provide tools, training and tactics to help them better protect networks.

The procurement marks another attempt by Army officials in recent months to better protect the service's networks. In August 2004, Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, the Army's chief information officer, told the service's information technology personnel at a conference that the Army's systems are increasingly under cyberattack.

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