FCW Insider: Information at war
Soliders, often deployed to remote areas with unreliable network connections, have been using removeable storage media such as USB thumb drives to carry files from one computer to another.
Until Wednesday. That's when the military suddenly banned the use of thumb drives, disks and other portable media due to an ongoing worm attack. The worm replicates by moving from an infected computer to the removeable media. When the user inserts the storage device into another computer, the worm infects it.
According to Wired, the malware involved is called Agent.btz., and has the ability to download some unknown software or data into military networks -- even classified ones.
The incident illustrates how very vulnerable systems can be even when precautions are taken. While the ban on removeable media may prevent further spread of the worm, it won't heal infected machines. And it can't be sustained indefinitely ... people need to use the storage devices and, especially in places where there's no network to connect to, there's no real substitute for it.
Posted on Nov 21, 2008 at 12:18 PM