Soon, Navy Will Take Exposing the Military to Cyberattacks as Seriously as Partying at Nightclubs


Would a Navy sailor be more severely punished for attending a banned nightclub near the base? Or for attaching a phone or other device to a work computer with a USB, thus potentially exposing the U.S. Navy’s computer system to malware?

If the sailor gets caught going to the club, they’d most certainly be punished. But if they do something that results in infecting a U.S. military system computer system, they could get off scot-free.

That is, until now.

Over the next few months, the new Navy Cybersecurity Division, established in September 2015, will ensure that violators of the Navy’s cyber policies are consistently punished.

Accountability guidelines are still being developed, but this urgent need to hold IT users more accountable is the result of inconsistent punishment for violating cyber rules, depending on which local commanders are dealing with infractions at any given time.

The Navy Cybersecurity Division is also a reflection of the emphasis that federal agencies, notably the Department of Defense, have placed on cybersecurity. And it isn’t just for staffers. The DOD has started applying a slew of federal regulations to government contractors.

The new penalties are only part of a campaign to convey to sailors that the Navy’s computer systems are to be considered a weapons platform, the Director of the Navy Cybersecurity Division recently said to Federal News Radio.

As frowned upon as certain nightclubs are, the dancers performing there probably won’t be considered weapons platforms any time soon. That should give sailors even greater pause before charging mobile devices on their work computers.

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