"Peter" has some thoughts on our lack of cyber security.
CYBER SECURITY SHOULD DICTATE NETWORK DESIGN
Stand-alone systems should be utilized wherever possible.
The recent hacking of government systems resulting in the loss of top secret files to China - once again - requires that I again address the abysmal record of federal agencies in "protecting" their files and data. This time China managed to steal, among the vast load of data, the personnel files of Intelligence Agency operatives including home addresses, relatives, medical histories, assignments and pay - to name just a few.
Once again I raise the question: Why do we have our deepest secrets and most critical military data systems connected to the Internet?
How did government communicate electronically before the Internet?
Does anyone remember the ARPANET? The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was one of the world's first operational packet switching networks, the first network to implement TCP/IP, and was the predecessor of what was to become the global Internet. It was built in 1969 to connect the various Defense agencies and contractors involved in developing systems of all types. Eventually many universities involved in similar research were also connected to ARPANET. There was NO public access.
Users of ARPANET were hard-wired into the network because much of the content on the network was classified. Eventually they were able to safely transmit most forms of documents and graphics and communicate by what we now call email. Because the ARPANET was a stand-alone network not connected to any other unsecured network, it was secure from hacking or sabotage from outsiders. The only way to "hack" it was to be on the inside and physically steal the data.
Why don’t we still have stand-alone government networks not connected to the Internet? The work could still be done securely and without hackers from other countries stealing our data and sabotaging our networks. Contractors would adopt whatever practices the government chose to use in order to get the contracts. Why do government workers need the Internet? What can they do on the Internet that they couldn’t do on a secure, stand-alone network?
Why on Earth would anyone, politician or not, want our most secret files available to hackers on the Internet?
Why is accessing "social media" worth risking our national security?
An Inspector General’s report awhile back shed some light on the subject. They inspected the workstations of several hundred government employees and found that their government computers were frequently used to view and even download pornographic images and videos. They were used to look up or update FaceBook accounts. They were used to send out personal messages on Twitter and other similar services. In other words, the Internet access was for the personal convenience of the employees, to the detriment of the government (and taxpayers).
Why do our leaders in the Defense Department, the Military, the IRS, FBI, Homeland Security, the Congress, etc. allow this compromise of national security, efficiency and effectiveness? Any network that has a connection to another network with Internet access is at risk of hacking and sabotage. Why would the CIA, FBI, NSA, IRS, Pentagon, or any agency that needs confidentiality want to expose their networks to other networks with Internet access? Because they want Internet access for themselves and they’re willing to put their country at risk to get it. It’s NOT a necessity, only a convenience, especially if you want to spend a lot of time watching or downloading porno.
It’s time that the leaders of government, including the President, man up and admit that their laziness and lust is costing the rest of us dearly. Will Congress EVER pass legislation denying Internet access for all government systems, except where Internet access is actually required to do the job?