Info Technicians Must Be Mindful of Web Site Content
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 19, 2003 -- The U.S. military uses the Internet
as an electronic conduit to quickly disseminate information. From
a security perspective, however, stretches of that worldwide information
highway contain potholes.
"We need to use the Web for efficiency and effectiveness - it's
a great medium. But, we have to use it with security and information
sensitivity in mind," noted Linda Brown, a DoD information technology
specialist and the person responsible for the DoD web site administration
DoD Internet security is getting better, even as more and more
military information is being carried over the World Wide Web,
remarked Brown, who works in the Office of the Assistant Secretary
of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence.
On the other hand, operations and exercise plans and installation
maps for water, electric and other utility services have no place
on publicly accessible Web sites, Brown explained. That kind of
information, she noted, "would be helpful for someone intending
to defeat our plans, our intentions."
Classified information, she continued, is contained within heavily
safeguarded separate networks that can be accessed only by certain
individuals. However, there've been cases where the public was
found to have access to things that were supposedly only on protected
intranets, Brown remarked.
Such occurrences, though, are most often inadvertent and quickly
remedied when discovered, she emphasized.
Other items definitely not for public viewing include anything
that is For Official Use Only (FOUO), detailed computer system
information, organizational manning charts and graphics, and photos
of base entrances and exits, Brown noted.
Even unclassified, personal information could well be of interest,
such as home addresses and the like, which would allow Web surfers
to harass or target service members' families, Brown said.
DoD's Web policy is accessible at http://www.defenselink.mil/webmasters,
Brown remarked. The site provides guidelines as to what DoD webmasters
and content providers can and can't do on the department's Internet
pages. The site also lists things considered inappropriate for
posting, she added.
DoD has been concerned about Web security issues for years --
long before the war against global terrorism erupted, Brown noted.
"The basic DoD Web policy was issued in 1998," she explained.
"Maybe we have some heightened concerns because of the world situation
It's a given, Brown noted, that U.S. adversaries routinely check
out DoD Web pages for information.
"It's an ongoing, constant concern," she concluded.