By Bob Brewin
Jan. 25, 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Although there are 6 million probes of
Defense Department networks a day, successful intrusions have declined
46 percent in the past year because of a requirement that all DOD
personnel log on to unclassified networks using Common Access Cards, Air
Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, said in a speech at the AFCEA SpaceComm
DOD has battled increasingly sophisticated attacks against its networks
in the past year, and reconnaissance and attacks still continue 24/7,
said Croom, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and
commander of the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations.
It is essential to use CACs, which electronically verify a users
identity, to access unclassified DOD networks because 75 percent of that
traffic also moves across the public Internet, he said. Croom all but
ruled out use of Outlook Web Access by remote users because of its poor
security. The softwares use in DOD will require approval from a
three-star general, he said.
Croom added that the number of successful socially engineered e-mail
attacks against DOD users a practice known as spear phishing has
declined 30 percent in the past year due to increased security awareness
training. All department employees and contractors who use DOD networks
were required to complete spear phishing awareness training as of this
DOD has already issued 10 million CACs to users of DOD networks, which
include the National Guard, active and reserve forces, and contractors,
Croom said. This accounts for 91 percent of all users on the
unclassified networks. Use of CACs and public-key infrastructure tokens
eliminates the need to use passwords, which Croom said is the major
problem in protecting DOD networks.
Passwords can be harvested automatically by keyloggers or from notes
people stick on their computers, Croom said.
When asked if the DISA and JTF-GNO plan to relax restrictions against
the use of Outlook Web Access by Guard and reserve units, which do not
have the infrastructure to support the use of CACs, Croom was
DOD networks are weapons systems that must be protected to support vital
combat and logistics missions, and Guard and reserve units need to
access them securely, Croom said. He suggested these units develop a
virtual private network infrastructure that can support CACs.
Subscribe to InfoSec News