Worst Cyber Attack on U.S. Military Came Via Flash Drive: U.S.

WASHINGTON - The most serious cyber attack on the U.S. military'snetworks came from a tainted flash drive in 2008, forcing the Pentagonto review its digital security, a top US defense official said Aug. 25.
The thumb drive, which was inserted in a military laptop in theMideast, contained malicious code that "spread undetected on bothclassified and unclassified systems, establishing what amounted to adigital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to serversunder foreign control,"
Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn wrote in the journal Foreign Affairs.
The code was placed on the drive by "a foreign intelligence agency," Lynn wrote.

"It was a network administrator's worst fear: a rogue program operatingsilently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of anunknown adversary."
Previous media reports speculated that the attack may have originated from Russia.
The Pentagon had never openly discussed the incident, but Lynn chose toreveal the details of the attack as officials try to raise publicawareness of the growing threat posed to government computer networks.
The incident served as a wake-up for the Pentagon and prompted majorchanges in how the department handled digital threats, including theformation of a new cyber military command, Lynn said.
After the 2008 assault, the Pentagon banned its work force from using flash drives, but recently eased the prohibition.
Since the attack, the military has developed methods to uncoverintruders inside its network, or so-called "active defense systems,"according to Lynn.
But he added that drafting rules ofengagement for defending against cyber attack was "not easy," as thelaws of war were written before the advent of a digital battlefield.
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