reply to post by oconnection
The problem is the people operating the system, not the system, itself. It doesn't matter who designs it, when you have moles/rats/leaks - no
software or hardware firewall is going to keep your data secure.
My grandpa said it best... everyone needs money - and some people will always believe they need more than what they are already getting.
Also, as I understand it, the computers were the property of the contractors - not the DoD. There's a substantial difference. All DoD computers
that have a classification level above "Unclassified" or "Confidential" are on their own separate networks and have no contact with the outside
world (assuming some idiot doesn't connect it to the outside world) - many classified systems are RF-shielded (for reasons other than protection
against EMP) to prevent an external device from monitoring the electromagnetic emissions from being monitored (this would also mean many use
fiber-optic hard-lines that are virtually impossible to monitor without first severing the connection).
Anything 'touched' by that classified system/network becomes classified, itself. If I place a flash-drive into a Top Secret system - that flash
drive is now Top Secret and is subject to the handling protocol of Top Secret media.
However - the contractors, who specialize in the development of various technologies and techniques, are not necessarily bound by such hard standards.
A new encryption method, for instance, may be under development utilizing some elements of quantum field theory. The research into that system may
be done in one complex in, say, Australia - while the plant responsible for fabricating prototypes and incorporating those into complete systems (such
as aircraft or ships) is located here in America. Transmitting information via some form of network becomes much more efficient.
While private networks/relays are often used by these companies (there are more communication satellites in orbit than many people realize) - some of
those systems can come into contact with the "internet at large." This could be something as mundane as a single computer on the private network
that also connects to the private network; or as scandalous as a 'mole' covertly connecting one of the hubs/nodes to the 'internet at large' via
There are many ways to transmit data, many people working on various projects, and there are far faster transmission speeds and far denser storage
devices that have evolved over the past decade.
Think back to 1999. 8GB? That's a little smaller than the average hard drive. Now, it's the average $20 USB drive - small enough to hide in a AA
battery casing. Download? That was how you avoided telemarketers for days on end, downloading a hundred megabytes. Now, it's how most people get
the majority of the gigabytes of information on their hard drives, streaming several megabytes in mere seconds.
Compare even 1999 to the days when information was carried around in manila folders (only a decade or two earlier). The past thirty years have seen
more change in the way information is distributed than the past two centuries. The average person now has access to bandwidth that allows for
real-time audio/video communication with another individual anywhere else in the world (provided that other person has access to adequate
Twenty years ago - you wrote letters to people in other states - called them if you wanted to pay long distance fees. Now? You have a portable phone
(that fits comfortably in almost any pocket) that can connect to a network that puts you in contact with just about any other phone on the continent -
to other nations, depending upon the plan you have purchased.
So, you can see where the issue of information security has become very critical in recent years. Unfortunately, the 90s saw the crippling of the CIA
and its respective resources - which put them well behind the game when it came to the issues of 'cyber warfare.' But that's what we get for
letting people with little aptitude for foresight make decisions regarding our nation's security.