Air Force In Super Denial Mode: Blocks Access To News Sites Covering Wikileaks

from the head-in-the-sand dept

And we thought the Library of Congress was in denial mode for blocking access to Wikileaks. It appears the Air Force has gone a step further into denial, as it's now blocking access to over 25 sites, including major news publications covering Wikileaks, such as the NY Times and The Guardian. Apparently, anyone on an Air Force computer who goes to the NY Times is being told: "ACCESS DENIED. Internet Usage is Logged & Monitored," Along with a notice warning people that anyone accessing an "unauthorized" site may be punished. Apparently none of the other branches of the military have the same thing in place, though we've heard from others in the military that Defense Department computers are blocking websites with "Wikileaks" in the title.

As Jeffrey Toobin notes in the CNN link above: "Our enemies can see the documents, but not those whom we trust to defend our country." How does that make sense?

And, of course, to make matters even more ridiculous, this is the Air Force... the supposed "cyber" expert branch of the military, these days. A little while back, the Defense Department announced that "cyber" issues were to be handled by the Air Force. Yet, they can't figure out that blocking their own access to mainstream media news sites is a dumb idea? These are the guys we've tapped to handle our country's "cyber defense"?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Shawn (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 7:28am

    I wonder if they will confiscate printed copies of NY Times and The Guardian at the gate of Airforce bases?

     

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  2.  
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    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    Re:

    Yes, and then they'll use them for toilet paper.

     

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  3.  
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    Michael, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    Cyberwar!

    This is CyberWAR! Who better to handle it than the people that can block themselves from knowing what is going on in the world?

    Think about it, the best in the CyberWarfare game are 12 year old's sitting in their parents' basement living on Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets. They never watch the news or pay attention to current events and instead spend all of their time hacking websites.

    Clearly, to fight these Cyber-Terrorists, we need to make a division within our Air Force exactly the same!

    Hey, wait, why did we pick the Air Force? Shouldn't they be the best at being out in the open? At some point, did we really find that our Air Force (you know, they guys that FLY JETS) is more accustomed to be sitting in front of a computer in a cubicle than anyone else in our defense department? That seems a bit weird.

     

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  4.  
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    jcurbo (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    Correction: while the AF once claimed they were the cyber experts, responsibility for "cyber" issues inside DoD is now handled by US Cyber Command, a joint command. Each service has a component that reports to Cyber Command, of which 24th AF is the Air Force's component.

    Otherwise, I agree with you that it is shortsighted policymaking. There's a good article over at the USNI blog that cover all this.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:04am

    Who tapped them to defend cyber anything? Let owners of networks manage their own affairs. These folks are clueless.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:07am

    This is not stupid. They have to prevent classified documents (even if they're now no longer really a secret) from showing up on the unsecure network.

    Organizations of that sort maintain "classified" and "unclassified" networks. (I hate that term, but it's the one that's used.) If a classified document shows up on the unclassified network it's a BIG problem, because it indicates that someone has been transferring data from the secure side to the unsecure side. There are all sorts of processes that have to be followed, like wiping or destroying hardware.

    Now wikileaks shows up and provides access to all sorts of documents that are marked as classified. Somebody downloads on (through whatever process) to the unsecure network and it triggers the entire response. The people responsible for maintaining data security can't just blow it off. Blocking access to any place that somebody might end up with one of those documents is the only way for their IT crew to retain their sanity.

     

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  7.  
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    Pixelation, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    Facepalm

    A man walks into a room. A general is standing there up to his knees in shit. The man says, "General, why are you standing in shit?". The General responds, "What shit?".
    "The shit at your feet".
    "I've been ordered not to look at my feet, there is no shit"
    "Who's going to clean it up?".
    "Clean up what?"

    The man walks out, head in hands...

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:15am

    Re: Cyberwar!

    Considering that it appears that most of the Anons are underage, it would seem a good plan of attack. Perhaps they can just poison the world supply of hot pockets and fix it all for good.

     

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  9.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re:

    "Yes, and then they'll use them for toilet paper."

    Honey why do you have a picture of the Queen of england on your ass?

     

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  10.  
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    Michael, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Cyberwar!

    Great, you just made me afraid to eat my lunch.

     

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  11.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It's called Britzing. All the guys are doing it..."

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    Your comment can be summarized much better this way:

    "This is not stupid. Now I will describe why it is stupid."

     

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  13.  
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    Pip, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:35am

    .

    "This is not stupid. They have to prevent classified documents (even if they're now no longer really a secret) from showing up on the unsecure network."

    That isn't what is being block, though.

     

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  14.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 9:08am

    Poor It guy

    I feel bad for the poor IT guy who has to cripple his own network because some blow-hole told him to. Granted if he has an IQ of 75 or more he should be coding in backdoors for him and all his friends.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 9:13am

    What a minute.. you're telling me that the armed services are the most clueless as to what the armed services are actually doing?? GTFO....

    Yeah, nothing new there. Welcome to the military, leave your rights at the door thanks.

     

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  16.  
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    meko21, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re:

    Great, at least it will be softer than the crap they get now!

     

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  17.  
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    lux (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Another day, and another set of keyboard commando's complaining they could do a better job at gov't work...then back over to Newser for a few hours...and top it off with a handful of Cheetos. Ah, the life of a critic is great.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    Great defense of the Air Force's silliness! I'm thoroughly convinced now that sticking their heads in the sand is the smart thing to do.

     

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  19.  
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    interval (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re:

    So the Air Force's blocking of Wikileaks from all ITS gateways is really great security? Sounds me like their spitting in wind, and gaining ZERO security. I suspect that what you indeed say is true; a group of "keyboard commandos" do in fact have better ideas about IT security.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    The Air Force is full of air heads!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    lux (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Which is why you're posting on a blog instead of holding it down at NORAD. Totally.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I see you still can't actually offer any substantive argument. Typical.

     

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  23.  
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    Richard Kulawiec, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 11:17am

    Re:

    Yes, and these are the folks who can't figure out how to stop attacks from Chinese network space...when easy techniques for doing so have been common knowledge for years.

    (How? The easy way is to grab the CIDRs for CN ranges from ipdeny.com and bidirectionally drop all traffic from/to them. The better way is to bidirectionally deny all traffic and then only enable it to/from those allocations for which there exists a need to exchange traffic. Now, granted, this won't stop attacks which originate in CN space but are redirected via systems in allowed network space, but it reduces the scope of the problem dramatically which in turn makes the remaining problem far more tractable.)

    In a fair fight, I'd bet on script kiddies from 4chan over these clowns. At least the script kiddies have some creativity/ingenuity, qualities that are utterly absent at "Cyber Command". (I feel like there should be a soundtrack for that phrase, something like a big brass hit that slides down the scale and ends in off-tune cacaphony.)

     

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  24.  
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    lux (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Argument for what? I have no need to prove to you that classified documents remained classified whether or not they've been leaked.

    Do you expect the US gov't to suddenly open up SIPRNET to everyone, you know, only the parts that been compromised? Otherwise, I mean, they're just "censoring" and "sticking their head in the sand", and any other parroted phrase around here.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mr. Assange is a keyboard commando do you think he is a threat(rhetorical)?.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    By the way the government could have done better.
    Even though some of the smartest people on earth work for the U.S. government there is something to be said about environment induced dumbness.

    The heart and minds of people are being lost at home for actions taken by the government this should be a wake up call.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    lux (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mr. Assange is not blogging on TD. He's in charge of a whistleblowing campaign that's changing the world. Somewhat of a difference there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh good, you managed to throw in a useless false dichotomy along with your appeal to authority. Add it to the ad hominem from earlier and you're a class-AAA troll. Bravo!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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