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Earlier this month we saw the military ban the use of USB drives and other removable media. Apparently the virus outbreak that lead to this measure affected 75% of all systems at the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
Details are still sparse, but both the LA Times and the U.S. News and World Report are reporting that the intrusion was severe enough to raise the INFOCON status, the information security equivalent of the DEFCON alert, and also necessitate the briefing of the president. We also don’t know the source of the attack, but signs point to state rather than non-state actors, with the most popular contenders being either Russia or China.
Our military is dependent upon commodity desktops whose software shares an enormous amount of DNA with systems that sit on every workplace in the planet. These systems form the backbone of what is called network centric warfare. Hopefully the security that the military is planning for these systems is something less than… commodity.
The DEFense readiness CONdition (DEFCON) is a measure of the activation and readiness level of the United States Armed Forces. It describes progressive postures for use between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders of unified commands. DEFCONs are matched to the situations of military severity. Standard peacetime protocol is DEFCON 5, descending in increasingly severe situations. DEFCON 1 represents expectation of actual imminent attack, and is not known to have ever been declared.
This is the condition used to designate normal peacetime military readiness. An upgrade in military preparedness is typically made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and announced by the United States Secretary of Defense.
This refers to normal, increased intelligence and the heightening of national security measures.
This refers to an increase to force readiness above normal. Radio call signs used by American forces change to currently classified call signs.
This refers to a further increase in force readiness just below maximum readiness. The most notable time it was declared was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, although the declaration was limited to Strategic Air Command. It is not certain how many times this level of readiness has been reached.
This refers to maximum readiness. It is not certain whether this has ever been used, but it is reserved for imminent or ongoing attack on US military forces or US territory by a foreign military power.
The highest alert condition the US military has been confirmed to have been at was DEFCON 2. During the Cuban Missile Crisis on 22 October 1962, the US Armed Forces were ordered to DEFCON 3. On October 23, Strategic Air Command (SAC) was ordered to DEFCON 2, while the rest of the US military remained at DEFCON 3. SAC remained at DEFCON 2 until 15 November.
For much of the Cold War, US ICBM sites were at DEFCON 4 rather than 5.
Yom Kippur War
Higher alert conditions were also ordered during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. While the US military was technically at DEFCON 3 status during the Yom Kippur War, in certain theaters it operated under DEFCON 2 conditions as a show-of-force to repel Soviet naval vessels from entering the Bosporus Strait.
September 11th Attacks
The third time the United States reached DEFCON 3 was during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Originally posted by die_another_day
Woah woah woah, 75% of the U.S. bases in Afghanistan?
75% of all systems at the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan
Originally posted by die_another_day
This is some serious backlash here, I mean raising DEFCON levels?
News and World Report are reporting that the intrusion was severe enough to raise the INFOCON status, the information security equivalent of the DEFCON alert,...
Originally posted by redmage
reply to post by CaptainCaveMan
The ZD Net article links directly to an L.A. Times piece that identifies the invasive software as "agent.btz".