DOD will crack down on access to Niprnet

DOD will crack down on access to Niprnet

Maj. Gen. John H.

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The Office of the Secretary of Defense soon will issue a directive to eliminate unauthorized back-door access to the Non-Classified IP Router Network.

'It's being worked on right now,' said Air Force Maj. Gen. John H. Campbell, vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, who spoke at length recently about much of the work on DISA's plate.

'Unless you have a waiver with a specific reason,' Defense Department agencies will not be allowed to maintain these unapproved links, Campbell said in a recent interview.

It's unofficial

DOD officials are cracking down on unofficial connections to improve security, he said. 'The NIPRnet grew up around convenience, not security,' Campbell said.

With electronic commerce, logistics and other business processes heavily reliant on the Internet, DISA officials are using eight official NIPRnet gateways to improve access, Campbell said.

Meanwhile, regarding the Defense Information Infrastructure's Common Operating Environment, senior DOD brass recently reaffirmed their support for the DISA-run interoperability effort, Campbell said.

The department's work on developing an enterprisewide systems plan, known as the Global Network Information Enterprise initiative, will not eliminate DII COE, he said, echoing comments made recently by Marvin Langston, DOD's deputy chief information officer [GCN, May 10, Page 1].

Campbell said DOD officials are also pleased with the progress of Defense Message System installations. More than 210 sites worldwide use it, he said. Organizational use doubled during the past two months, while AUTODIN use decreased, Campbell said.

DISA's Joint Interoperability Test Command is testing DMS Release 2.1, Campbell said.

'The directories and infrastructure are stable and responsive,' he said. Message exchange, delivery, speed of service and other critical performance measures 'appear to be doing well,' he said.

DISA is planning several pilots later this year in support of medium-grade messaging, a managed commercial e-mail service targeted at users who do not need command and control capabilities, Campbell said. Medium-grade messaging will use DOD public-key infrastructure software certificates, he said.

Campbell also praised the way DOD handled the Melissa virus. He said the department's systems defense team worked with software vendors to ensure software patches were available for DOD users to download within six hours of the first reports of the outbreak.

'By midnight, both patches worked, and they were posted on a Web site,' said Campbell, who is commander of the department's Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense. Campbell said he was paged about the first DOD Melissa infections at 6:30 p.m. on March 26.

The department's Computer Emergency Response Center officials from each service asked organizations to post banners on their networks asking users not to open e-mail messages with subject headers reading 'important message from,' even if they knew the sender.

CERC has primary, day-to-day interaction with DOD organizations, Campbell said, and it reports to the task force, which is primarily concerned with organized attacks on Defense systems.

For example, no such attacks materialized during Operation Allied Force, Campbell said. 'There was quite a bit of hacker activity from Serbia, but by and large it falls into the nuisance category,' such as defacing Web sites, he said.

Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., and Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., the companies that produced the patches for Melissa, hold antivirus software licenses with DISA.

Campbell said DISA officials have committed to giving the task force $3.2 million in fiscal 2000.

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