Fearing more Wikileaks, military bans DVDs, thumb drives

The US government, concerned of more 'Wikileaks', banned CDs, DVDs and USB drives from classified military computers.

Removable media such as CDs, DVDs and USB drives are no longer allowed on classified military computers.

The military's ban on discs is the latest government defense against Wikileaks, which in late November began publishing hundreds of thousands of confidential communications between the United States and its diplomats. Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of burning the correspondences to a CD marked "Lady Gaga" and giving it to Wikileaks.

The solution seems simple enough: Ban removable storage, and would-be leakers won't have any way to separate confidential files from the secret portion of the military's network. Troops risk a court martial for disobeying the order, Wired reports.

The only problem is that removable media is pretty important for classified computers, which are often disconnected from the military's network. The military order acknowledges that banning removable media will make operations harder, but to paraphrase, essentially says "too bad."

Banning DVDs and thumb drives might seem like an overreaction, but it's also a reminder that in the age of cloud computing, old fashioned removable media is still a huge security risk. See, for example, the fascinating story of a computer worm that infiltrated Iran's nuclear program. Because the facility was not connected to the Internet, the worm did its work by infecting residential computers in the area and patiently waiting for someone at the plant to take work home on a thumb drive.

Distrust the cloud if you will, but if you're dealing with sensitive information, sometimes it's the CD marked "Lady Gaga" that gets you.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags firewallsDrivesstoragehard drivessecurityhardware security componentsUSBusb storagenetwork securitystorage accessoryhdd

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?