facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

U.S. military confirms cyberattack

Aug. 24, 2010 at 9:26 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. officials have confirmed a significant breach of military computers caused by a flash drive plugged into a laptop computer in the Middle East in 2008.

In an article set for publication Wednesday, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III says malicious code placed on the drive by a foreign intelligence agency uploaded itself onto a network run by the U.S. military's Central Command, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

"That code spread undetected on both classified and unclassified systems, establishing what amounted to a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control," Lynn says in the article to appear in Foreign Affairs. "It was a network administrator's worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary."

Declassifying an incident officials had kept secret reflects the Pentagon's desire to raise congressional and public awareness of threats facing U.S. computer systems, experts said. The article says the Pentagon's 15,000 networks and 7 million computing devices are probed thousands of times daily by attackers who are difficult to identify.

Infiltrating the military's computer system is significant, a former intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

"This is how we order people to go to war. If you're on the inside, you can change orders. You can say, 'turn left' instead of 'turn right.' You can say 'go up' instead of 'go down.'"

Now, he said, the "Pentagon has begun to recognize its vulnerability and is making a case for how you've got to deal with it."

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Merkel urges Putin to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine Merkel urges Putin to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine
2
Lindsey Graham fears ISIS will come kill us all, in a not at all hysterical way Lindsey Graham fears ISIS will come kill us all, in a not at all hysterical way
3
Rush Limbaugh: Women actually are consenting when they say 'no' Rush Limbaugh: Women actually are consenting when they say 'no'
4
Tony Hayward: Kurdish oil sector open for business Tony Hayward: Kurdish oil sector open for business
5
American man detained by South Korean marines American man detained by South Korean marines
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback