Tuesday, March 03, 2009
The Huffington Post
It is a case of perverse but predictable irony that the first administration to truly harness the Internet's full power likewise faces the greatest threat from it. Nothing underscores this reality more acutely than a report this week that confidential mechanical data regarding the VH-60 presidential helicopter were found on a computer in Iran.
But then again, the new administration is perhaps fortunate to be furnished with such a thudding wakeup call as it leads the nation further into the Information Age -- the biggest mistake now would be to respond by hitting the Snooze button.
The leak, according to Reuters, was discovered by a peer-to-peer file sharing monitor company, Tiversa, based in Pennsylvania. Tiversa spokesman Keith Tagliaferri did not divulge the name of the defense contractor whence the files were leaked nor the Iranian computer wherein they were discovered, but he assured interested parties that the necessary government bodies had been notified.
One of the most discomfiting elements of this incident is that, according to Tagliaferri, the leak was most likely unintentional -- resulting from the data being stored on a personal computer, wherein it was compromised by music, movie, or any other number of file sharing conduits. Thus, rather than being some isolated, vile act of treason, the problem arose from an unforeseen systemic failure.
Now under investigation, it is safe to presume that this specific incident has been nipped in the bud. However, the larger implications of such an egregious slip will not be so ephemeral. Paralleling what we recently saw in the financial sector with 'exotic instruments' (of the derivative and credit default swap ilk), information-sharing technologies and practices may be outpacing the necessary regulatory safeguards that should accompany them. Elevate this to the level of national security, and it becomes an exigent prerogative -- a prompt and honest appraisal, followed by respective overhauling of the nation's cybersecurity infrastructure is in order....(Click for remainder).