According to a report from the Pentagon Inspector General, the U.S. Army isn’t implementing an effective cybersecurity program for commercial mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
The assistant Inspector General, Alice F. Carey, says that if the devices continue to remain insecure, “malicious activities could disrupt Army networks and compromise sensitive [Dept. of Defense] information.”
The spot-check conducted by the Pentagon Inspector General’s office included a full accounting of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) used at West Point and ERDC, excluding BlackBerry, from October 1, 2010 until May 31, 2012.
The report criticizes Army CIO, Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, for failing to implement “an effective cybersecurity program” for commercial mobile devices.
Specifically, the report adds, Lt. Gen. Lawrence didn’t track commercial mobile devices appropriately, and was unaware of more than 14,000 such devices being used throughout the Army.
Other listed failures include failure to use MDM to protect sensitive information on devices at West Point (U.S. Military Academy) and the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC); a failure to sanitize commercial devices properly, in addition to the failure to ensure they could be remotely wiped if lost or stolen.
“These actions occurred because the Army CIO did not develop clear and comprehensive policy for [commercial mobile devices] purchased under pilot and non-pilot programs. In addition, the Army CIO inappropriately concluded that [commercial mobile devices] were not connecting to Army networks and storing sensitive information. As a result, critical information assurance controls were not appropriately applied, which left the Army networks more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks and leakage of sensitive data,” the report says.
The CIO’s office and the CIO’s at West Point and ERDC have until April 25 to respond and begin addressing the issues.
Bringing the point close to home, Sophos’ Beth Jones asks: “If the United States Army, with all the endless policies, is having a difficult time with BYOD, how is a small or medium-sized business going to cope?”