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[ISN] Pentagon bans wireless from sensitive areas
From: InfoSec News (isnC4I.ORG)
Date: Mon Mar 26 2001 - 00:30:32 CST
BY Bill Murray
The Pentagon has begun prohibiting workers in classified meeting areas
from using wireless devices unless they disable their transmission
Personnel cannot bring digital devices with wireless data transmission
capabilities into Pentagon sensitive compartmented information
facilities (SCIF) "unless the devices infrared port has been taped
over by an opaque tape and its antenna has been removed/disconnected,"
wrote David O. Cooke, the Pentagons director of administration and
"Its a very good policy to have," said Alan Paller, research director
at the SANS Institute in Bethesda, Md. "The reason a SCIF exists is to
isolate" classified information, he said. The wireless policy exists
for "the same reason you dont allow floppy diskettes to leave SCIFs.
Its the same reason you dont allow tape recorders at the CIA."
In a March 6 memo, Cooke said that his policys success will depend
largely on individuals voluntarily abiding by it. He also called the
policy "an interim measure pending publication of a national policy,"
and that SCIF security managers should consider it a basic level of
Part of the value of Cookes wireless policy is that it reminds
classified workers that they probably shouldnt bring wireless devices
into SCIFs, Paller said. Users cant remove the antenna on many
wireless devices, he said.
The policy also gives the armed services a way to prosecute anyone who
violates the policy, Paller said.
The Defense Protective Service is implementing Cookes memo, said Glenn
Flood, a Pentagon spokesman. Since DPS handles physical security for
the Pentagon, it is notifying organizations about the wireless policy,
he said. Its up to each organization to report any violations of the
wireless policy that occur.
Part of the Pentagons caution could have to do with the fact that
wireless devices from companies such as Palm Inc. and Research in
Motion Ltd. (maker of BlackBerry) have become more popular among the
armed services top officials.
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