Navy: Don’t access personal e-mail at work

Navy employees can no longer access personal e-mail accounts, including Yahoo Mail and Microsoft Hotmail, from the service’s networks without approval.

That is one of six rules in the Navy’s new acceptable use of information technology policy issued in July. The “Effective Use of Department of Navy IT Resources,” states that the service’s military, civilian and contractor users cannot:

* Automatically forward official Navy e-mail to a commercial account or use a commercial account for official government business without approval.

* Install or modify computer hardware or software without approval.

* Circumvent or disable security measures, countermeasures or safeguards, such as firewalls, content filters and antivirus programs.

* Participate in or contribute to activity that causes a disruption or denial of service.

* Write, code, compile, store, transmit, transfer or introduce malicious software, programs or code.

* Use peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing applications, such as Kazaa, Shareaza and OpenP2P without approval and only in support of Navy missions.

“This policy is intended to promote effective and secure use of IT resources within the Department of the Navy and is an integral part of the department’s information assurance efforts,” according to the policy released by the Navy Department’s Chief Information Officer’s Office.

The policy especially called attention to the dangers of P2P applications, software that permits users to share files including music and pictures with other users without centralized security controls or oversight. “Unauthorized use of P2P file-sharing can result in significant vulnerabilities to Department of the Navy information systems including unauthorized access to information, compromise of network configurations and denial-of-service,” according to the policy.

Some Navy employees do not know they should no longer access personal e-mail at work. However, The Periscope, a publication of the Navy’s submarine base at Kings Bay, Ga., published a story Sept. 8 about the service’s new IT policy.

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