The Web site Wikileaks has been in the news a lot over the past few months. Wikileaks has supposedly posted sensitive and classified documents of the U.S. federal government on its public Web site. Persons holding security clearances who might otherwise be authorized to access those classified documents may not realize that by viewing them on a public Web site such as Wikileaks they are likely committing a security violation. Just because classified information has been publicly released does not necessarily mean that it is no longer classified.
Here’s what we’ve not seen reported in the mainstream media: viewing classified information on an ordinary computer constitutes a security violation that is reportable to the federal government. Why? Because computers or any other automated information system must undergo a formal government accreditation process before they are authorized to store or process classified information. Your personal or business computer connected to the Internet is not likely accredited for that use. We advise our clients to make their workforce aware of this fact.
The federal government is very aware of this security threat and the DSS recently issued this memorandum for government contractors addressing this issue.