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Computer Security: Hackers Penetrate DOD Computer Systems


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I am pleased to participate in the Subcommittee's hearings on computer security. At your request, our work focused on hacker intrusions into Department of Defense (DOD) unclassified, sensitive computer systems during Operation Desert Storm/Shield. My testimony today is based on our review of intrusions by a group of Dutch hackers into Army, Navy, and Air Force computer systems. In particular, we conducted a detailed review of the hacker intrusions and system administration responsibilities at three DOD sites. While our focus was on unclassified, sensitive systems, some of the systems penetrated by this group of hackers did not contain sensitive information. The government faces increased levels of risk for information security because of greater network use and computer literacy, and greater dependency on information technology overall. For years hackers have been exploiting security weaknesses of systems attached to the Internet--an unclassified network composed of over 5,000 smaller networks nationwide and overseas and used primarily by government and academic researchers. Their techniques have been publicized in hacker bulletin boards and magazines, and even in a bestseller, The Cuckoo's Egg written by Clifford Stoll. Hackers, however, continue to successfully exploit these security weaknesses and undermine the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive government information.



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