DoD Confirms Flash Drive Breached its IT Security in 2008

Reason For 2008 Flash Drive Ban Now Explained

1 min read
DoD Confirms Flash Drive Breached its IT Security in 2008

In November of 2008, the US Department of Defense (DoD) military and civilian personnel were informed that DoD had immediately suspended  their use of USB and removable media devices, including digital cameras, switches, special data entry devices, personal digital assistants (PDA), hand held computers, printers, network hardware, and removable hard data storage devices (USB memory sticks, cards, etc).

Speculation at the time was that DoD's networks suffered  a massive hybrid worm/virus attack and that the attack originated in a USB type storage device and could also be spread by them, hence the ban.

According to news reports today, an article to be released later today by Foreign Affairs discussing DoD's  cyber strategy confirms the speculation. This Washington Poststory states that "Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn  III says malicious code placed on the drive by a foreign intelligence agency uploaded itself onto a network run by the U.S. military's Central Command."

Secretary Lynn writes in the Foreign Affairs article that:

"That code spread undetected on both classified and unclassified systems, establishing what amounted to a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control... It was a network administrator's worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary."

Lynn also says that the DoD has found counterfeit hardware in systems that it has bought.

The Post story says that Secretary Lynn's article discusses in more detail DoD's approach to cyber security, which it calls "active defense."

The Post story also notes that some cyber security experts are concerned that the article will provide "adversaries useful information."

Exactly how escapes me.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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