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Navy upholds ban on flash media

Fri, 04/09/2010 - 5:53am
Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

To follow up on an earlier story, the US Navy has maintained the ban on flash media. Notwithstanding the official “lifting” of the ban, Navy officials consider flash media too risky.

A quick refresher: in November 2008, DOD instituted a comprehensive ban on flash media in order to contain the “Agent.btz” computer virus. In February ’10, the military “lifted” the ban, allowing flash media under “carefully controlled circumstances.” Yet, for all intents and purposes, the ban has remained. Only “properly inventoried, government-procured and owned devices” are allowed on defense networks. “Civilian” thumb drives are still banned.

Sailors use email to communicate with friends and family in the library of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65).

“These devices are banned because of our inability to track how they are being used,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Michael Williams, Wasp's information assurance manager. “If they're not government-issue, we don't know if they are carrying viruses, malware, malicious codes, etc. If you plug in your personal thumb drive and it has a virus or other damaging elements, it could infect the entire ship's network.”

Sailors who violate the policy could have their account access terminated for 30 days.

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