Pentagon Warns Missile Defense Staff To Stop Surfing For Porn At Work

Another case of government workers and contractors behaving badly:

The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agencywarned its employees and contractors last week to stop using their government computers to surf the Internet for pornographic sites, according to the agency’s executive director.

In a one-page memo, Executive Director John James Jr. wrote that in recent months government employees and contractors were detected “engaging in inappropriate use of the MDA network.”

“Specifically, there have been instances of employees and contractors accessing websites, or transmitting messages, containing pornographic or sexually explicit images,” James wrote in the July 27 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

“These actions are not only unprofessional, they reflect time taken away from designated duties, are in clear violation of federal and DoD and regulations, consume network resources and can compromise the security of the network though the introduction of malware or malicious code,” he wrote.

Individuals identified as violating the rules face referral for “appropriate” disciplinary action, he wrote. They put “their security clearances in jeopardy, and are subject to suspension and removal from federal service or MDA sponsored contracts.”

Agency spokesman Rick Lehner said in an e-mail that the memo was written in response to “a few people downloading material from some websites that were known to have had virus and malware issues.”

The one thing I’ve never quite understood about these stories is why government networks don’t seem to be as good at blocking stuff like this as private company’s networks.

FILED UNDER: Government, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. The question I have, why are missile defense employees working on computers that have access to the Internet in the first place? They don’t need it for their work and it just opens up so many possible security problems.

  2. Be sure to lock down your work computers with passwords.

    I’m sure everyone does by now. Years ago I did not and came in one morning to find a porn collection across my screen. If anyone was monitoring by IP they would have thought I was a perv.

  3. Carson says:

    I certainly agree and feel that these employees should be monitoring computers only to watch for any sort of terrorist activities, to detect possible first strikes from Russia, Cuba, China, and Iran, and to keep track of any enemy air and naval traffic. This is scary to think that these people are just goofing off and surfing the internet instead of trying to protect this country. We would have no warning of an incoming missile from Russia and the president would not have time to react with a counterstrike. It is obvious we need to be at a higher alert level!

  4. ratufa says:

    I wonder what’s actually going on, given the hints in the article as to a backstory involving the director.

    Wrt why they have internet access at all: internet access is incredibly useful if you’re working on designing/building systems or doing coding. One question is why things aren’t locked down more.

    The most amusing part of the article was the interview with “Chase Cunningham, chief of cyber analytics at Sterling, Virginia-based Decisive Analytics Corporation”, warning about the dangers of visiting any site with high quality images because you might be infected via “steganography”. I can’t even type that with a straight face.

  5. Squid proxy (free, open source) with a list of allowed sites. Every site that someone needs to go to needs approval.

    Bang. Done. I’ve saved America.