US Marine Corps bans social networking sites

5 Aug 2009

Following a security evaluation by the Pentagon, the US Marine Corp has decided that access to any of the popular social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter will be banned on its network citing risks including data leakage and outside attacks through these sites.

In an official statement issued yesterday, the Marine stated: “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.

“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), personnel … at an elevated risk of compromise.”

Access to social networking sites has already been blocked on the Marine Corp’s network but is now officially banned. Meanwhile marines can still tweet and Facebook their friends and family from their own computer and internet connection.

This ban is not permanent but rather an interim measure as a study and ensuing policy recommendations on how to use tools like Facebook and Twitter without exposing the network to security risks, ordered by Deputy Defense Secretary William J Lynn, will be presented in September/October.