U.S. Marine Corps Bans Twitter, Social Networks

Posted on August 4, 2009

Wired's Danger Room blog reports that the U.S. Military is banning Twitter and social networks including Facebook and MySpace because of security concerns. Danger Room says the ban will last one year.
"These internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user generated content and targeting by adversaries," reads a Marine Corps order, issued Monday. "The very nature of SNS [social network sites] creates a larger attack and exploitation window, exposes unnecessary information to adversaries and provides an easy conduit for information leakage that puts OPSEC [operational security], COMSEC [communications security], [and] personnel... at an elevated risk of compromise."

The Marines' ban will last a year. It was drawn up in response to a late July warning from U.S. Strategic Command, which told the rest of the military it was considering a Defense Department-wide ban on the Web 2.0 sites, due to network security concerns. Scams, worms, and Trojans often spread unchecked throughout social media sites, passed along from one online friend to the next. "The mechanisms for social networking were never designed for security and filtering. They make it way too easy for people with bad intentions to push malicious code to unsuspecting users," a Stratcom source told Danger Room.
Danger Room also notes there are many in the military who find value in microblogging and social networks. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is on Twitter at @thejointstaff. He tweeted recently, "Obviously we need to find right balance between security and transparency. We are working on that. But am I still going to tweet? You bet."
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