"Peter" has some thoughts on cyber-security.
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.
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.
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?
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 FaceBookaccounts. 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.
It’s time that the leaders of government, including the President, man up and admit their laziness and lust is costing the rest of us dearly. Will Congress members (either party) pass legislation limiting Internet access except where required to do the job, or where the network contains classified data? Ha! That’ll be the day…