Pentagon Weighs Banning Social Networking

By Matthew Harwood

The Pentagon is once again seriously considering a "near-total ban" of all social networking Web sites from its unclassified network,'s Danger Room blog reports.

This time, however, the Defense Department (DoD) is looking to protect against outsiders getting into the network itself.

... while earlier social media blockades have been thrown up over bandwidth and secrecy concerns, this fresh ban stems from fears that Facebook and the like make it far too easy for hackers and cybercrooks to gain access to the military’s networks.

Last week, U.S. Strategic Command issued a “warning order” to the rest of the military, asking for feedback on a social media ban on the NIPRNet, the Defense’s Department’s unclassified network. (Naturally, access is already denied on the secret and top secret nets.)

“The mechanisms for social networking were never designed for security and filtering. They make it way too easy for people with bad intentions to push malicious code to unsuspecting users. It’s just a fact of life,” says a source at Stratcom, which is responsible for securing the military’s “global information grid.”

Danger Room also reports that its sources say the decision is all but made: there will be no more tweeting or facebooking on DoD's unclassified network.

Exceptions to the ban, however, will likely be made. Certain personnel, such as public affairs officers and recruiters, could be given "dirty computers" that only connect to the public Internet to carry on their social networking with the civilian world, Stratcom told Danger Room.

♦ Photo by U.S. Army Korea - IMCOM/Flickr




I guess they don't want generals to tweet out a secret meeting :)

View Recent News (by day)


Beyond Print

SM Online

See all the latest links and resources that supplement the current issue of Security Management magazine.