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Controversy Over WikiLeaks Highlights Insider Threats

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 12-01-2010 Print
The discussion surrounding WikiLeaks is sparking examinations of threats companies and organizations face from the inside.

At the center of the WikiLeaks controversy is U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, the man suspected of having passed the whistle-blower Website a massive collection of U.S. embassy cables.

Manning has been in military custody for the past several months with charges of transferring classified information to his personal computer and passing it on to an unauthorized source hanging over his head. But it was not monitoring software that exposed Manning; in fact it was an informant, former hacker Adrian Lamo, who Manning allegedly bragged to via instant message.

The situation underscores the problems surrounding access controls and malicious insiders, and it has prompted the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue a memorandum (PDF)to the heads of the country's executive departments and agencies requiring them to review "the agency's configuration of classified government systems to ensure that users do not have broader access than is necessary to do their jobs effectively, as well as implementation of restrictions on usage of, and removable media capabilities from, classified government computer networks."

In a chat log between Lamo and Manning published by Wired magazine, Manning reportedly wrote that he would come in with a CD labeled "with something like 'Lady Gaga' ... erase the music ... then write a compressed split file."


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