Pentagon's MDA employees caught surfing porn sites, told to stop

By on August 6, 2012, 7:30 AM

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) recently sent out a memo to employees telling them to stop engaging in behavior that was described as inappropriate use of the MDA network. The specific offenses, according to executive director John James, had to do with transmitting messages and accessing websites containing sexually explicit material – or in other words, watching porn at work.

One would think that surfing porn sites over a government network probably isn’t the brightest idea but apparently some employees needed an extra reminder. Besides the fact that such behavior takes away from time they should be spend doing their designated duties, the one-page memo points out that these actions are in clear violation of federal and DoD regulations. Furthermore, navigating unsecure pornographic websites is a proven way to contract malware and viruses.

Agency spokesperson Rick Lehner said in an email to Bloomberg that there are more than 8,000 employees at the MDA and less than half a dozen were found to have accessed questionable content. He said that the MDA has a highly advanced monitoring system to detect intrusions and access to inappropriate websites. In this instance, the system worked as it should by reporting the incident to the appropriate officials.

An unnamed source that reportedly works as a government cyber security specialist told the publication that criminals and foreign intelligence services typically use pornographic websites to gain access to and harvest data from government and corporate-level networks.

According to the original memo, those responsible will face appropriate disciplinary action.




User Comments: 17

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Guest said:

Maybe they just wanted to get their rock(et)s off.

Still, I am always surprised that people can get through character assessment and obviously not have regard for security in such positions of sensitivity and responsibility. It's like storing password in plain text or emailing a password to someone who forgot it.

I guess I should stop being surprised.

What would China to do such an employee? Probably cut off their hand and give them the doctors bill.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I would guess these were higher level people. Worker drones are usually paranoid about losing their jobs. Management usually thinks the rules don't apply to them.

Rippleman Rippleman said:

could have been a rogue pop-under, malicious link, or phishing attempt with a redirector? I can't imagine this being actually a true real "I surf porn" story.

ikesmasher said:

Fire all of them. We need to have people that take their jobs seriously there.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

could have been a rogue pop-under, malicious link, or phishing attempt with a redirector? I can't imagine this being actually a true real "I surf porn" story.

No, they probably did. I'm assuming they have an internet porn addiction. 6 out of 8,000 is .00075.

Statistically speaking you'll find anything at such a low number.

Guest said:

Considering that I worked as an Information Security Manager at a DoD station in San Diego, and that every DoD system has a banner notice regarding monitoring and recording (that it DOES happen, not that it MAY happen), and that each of these 'half-dozen or so' offenders signed an agreement NOT to do such actions...

FIRE THEM!... TERMINATE WITHOUT RETIREMENT (unlike the normal quiet retirement with pay) and act like you (the supposed government) has a pair. ENFORCE the damn rules you wrote and had them sign to... enforce the responsibility that I am (as a taxpayer) paying you to do.

Signed,

Retired, Mad, and Voting...

MilwaukeeMike said:

@Guest... In China guest, the sites would be blocked. And they should be here too. Where I work I can't get to hotmail, facebook, youtube or ebay, let alone a porn site. I guess if the govt did this some civil rights wacko would yell oppression.

And guest above me... they won't fire them because while it's completely inappropriate, it's not really that bad. You've heard 'people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones?' If they fired every worker bee who looked at b000bs, then you'd have to fire everyone who did something worse too. Do some google searches about the waste in govt contracted projects... you'll be wishing they were looking at porn. At least they're sitting at a PC in the office.

Guest said:

The article's picture is so illustrative of the subject :eek:

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Considering that I worked as an Information Security Manager at a DoD station in San Diego, and that every DoD system has a banner notice regarding monitoring and recording (that it DOES happen, not that it MAY happen), and that each of these 'half-dozen or so' offenders signed an agreement NOT to do such actions...

FIRE THEM!... TERMINATE WITHOUT RETIREMENT (unlike the normal quiet retirement with pay) and act like you (the supposed government) has a pair. ENFORCE the damn rules you wrote and had them sign to... enforce the responsibility that I am (as a taxpayer) paying you to do.

Signed,

Retired, Mad, and Voting...

See, the problem with doing just that is basically admitting to the fact that your employees acted with such high disregard of the rules and regulations in crucial positions inside the government, which basically makes them look bad.

So chances are, they might get quietly fired or reassigned in order to save face.

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

hahahaha.... our money being well spent.. . hahaha

TJGeezer said:

I would guess these were higher level people. Worker drones are usually paranoid about losing their jobs. Management usually thinks the rules don't apply to them.

@gwailo is right - check for managers typing one-handed in their offices. Workers in bays of desks or with open cubicles would be too paranoid to go watching pron. OTOH, if the guy two cubes over started lusting after my girlfriend and went out for a cigarette or bathroom break, it'd be so EASY to point the jerk's browser at a site where models do disgusting things with penguins...

DanUK DanUK said:

This might seem like a stupid question but shouldn't they have a web blocker on the network to prevent employees from accessing such sites?!

Guest said:

"Furthermore, navigating unsecure pornographic websites is a proven way to contract malware and viruses."

So my guess is if they find secure pornographic websites, then it will be ok. Until they post a new memo.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

What if they are doing it during lunch on thier own laptop?

What if they are doing it during break on thier own iPad?

The internet turned 21 so its old enough to drink, maybe they assumed since its above age it's ok to look at porn!

Guest said:

I don't understand a few points: how can a web site (a text page with images, really) be a security threat, why porn sites are not blocked in military organizations, if they really are threats, and why everybody got a memo if only 8 people are watching porn?

It all sounds strange to me. Instead of simply installing a web filter and anti-virus, they are sending out memos to everybody, in such a way that the whole world knows about it now. If these porn sites really are threats to security, it's kind of like having a hole in the fence and instead of mending it, sending memos to personnel telling not to use it to enter and exit military base because it is against the rules.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Intranet Porn Sites... that could get yucky depending on where you work.

mailpup mailpup said:

...and why everybody got a memo if only 8 people are watching porn?
Ever been a manager, especially in a civil service environment? You need to remind everyone of office or department policies lest others stray and do the same. If you don't, you end up with the weak but well used, "Well, no one ever told me," defense. The specific offenders will receive appropriate disciplinary action and now everyone else is reminded of this rule or policy.

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