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Iranian hack may be snarling Navy intranet

Oct. 7, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By Staff report   |   Comments
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Sailors are continuing to encounter intranet delays as security updates are installed — updates that may or may not be tied to an alleged hacking by Iran.

Iranian agents or proxies breached the Navy’s unclassified computer network sometime during the past few weeks, according to a Sept. 27 Wall Street Journal report.

The cyber-trespassers did not steal any secrets, but their presence prompted alarms at the Pentagon about their prowess.

The Defense Department declined to confirm the report of a breach, saying only that DoD networks see “daily attempts” by hackers and that these defenses are updated constantly to parry them.

“As a matter of policy and for reasons of operations security, we do not comment on the details of our operations to counter cyber threats or any allegations made in recent media reports,” DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said in a statement. “We have full confidence in the integrity of the department’s networks and systems upon which we conduct critical operations. This recent reporting does not change that assessment.”

Anonymous officials told the WSJ that the security breach came through an unsophisticated attack and revealed weaknesses in the DoD network, which have since been patched. Sources also told the paper that hackers had not accessed email accounts of top officials had not been broken into.

Security upgrades

Wide swathes of the Navy’s websites have been down or intermittent because of security upgrades.

Navy officials said in a Sept. 20 news release that networkwide outages related to the updates could last “over the coming weeks.” A spokesman with Fleet Cyber Command would not say when the upgrades would end and would not offer any specific systems that would go offline, citing security concerns.

When asked whether the upgrades were related to any alleged hacking, the spokesman said, “We do not discuss the details of network operations for security reasons.”

The Navy-Marine Corps Intranet has an estimated 800,000 users.

Navy Personnel Command has posted a how-to guide on its website for getting personnel records information during the outage at www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc.

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