DoD Works to Prevent another WikiLeaks, Insider Threat

Teri Takai, DoD

On the heels of the WikiLeaks debacle and growing concerns about the insider threat, the Defense Department has taken steps in preventing another massive leak of its classified information, a senior official told a Senate committee last week.

After thousands of classified military documents were leaked and distributed online last summer, DoD launched an investigation and identified the weakest link in the department’s security chain, the department’s Chief Information Officer Teri Takai said in a testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Takai told Senate members responsibilities needed to be better defined to catch and deal with insider threats, and methods to monitor user behavior on classified computer networks were limited, according to a report by the American Forces Press Service.

To get a grip on vulnerabilities, the department has disabled the ability to copy data from nearly 90 percent of its classified computers, Takai said. The remaining classified computers were left intact to write removable media for operational reasons, she explained, but only under limited controls.

Takai told the committee more work is coming to prevent stolen data, and there is an ongoing effort with the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive to add an IT insider-detection capability and insider-threat program.

DoD is working on a web-enabled information security training to go with the department’s obligatory yearly information assurance training, she said, and there are also plans for an oversight program for inspections in forward-deployed areas.

The department will strive to adopt the mechanisms necessary to safeguard the intelligence information, “without reverting back to pre-9/11 stovepipes,” Takai said.

“The department continues to work toward a resilient information-sharing environment,” she added, “that is secured through both technological solutions and comprehensive policies.”

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