Australian Defence Force bans personal e-mail

Personal e-mail, such as Hotmail accounts, can bypass network firewalls leaving organisations vulnerable to attack and follows similar moves by other Federal agencies.

Bernard Hill, senior manager corporate services for government security provider 90East (Asia Pacific), said a lot of money is spent by the government keeping hackers at bay and protecting networks.

"The ADF employing this tactic is no different to any other employer doing the same. Most reasonable-size companies have intellectual property issues and (there's a) risk that employees could use their personal e-mail accounts to forward information," Hill said.

Patrick Hannan, defence information systems head for the ADF, said Web-based e-mail sites will be "blocked" at the firewall once a formal notice is issued to all personnel.

"We are not banning the use of Hotmail (-like accounts) by Defence personnel, but within the organisation personnel should use the standard e-mail client. This action is about firewall protection -- obviously there is also an element of national security as well," he said.

Hannan said receiving e-mail from such accounts was fine, as well as the use of them outside the confines of the organisation.

"But the opening up, downloading of mail and sending of this mail on computers connected to the Defence server, would be regarded as a security breach," he said.

"It would be impractical to ban all sites that have Web-based e-mail as some are a valid resource. We will simply monitor the use of these sites."

Hannan said possible penalties for Defence personnel who refuse to abide be the directive, or continue to use these sites, may include loss of Internet privileges.

Currently, all outgoing Defence e-mail has to include 'sec: unclassified' in the subject line to pass through the firewall, otherwise it is rejected. Hannan said with Internet-based e-mail accounts there is no firewall for e-mail to pass through as all traffic is read as 'HTTP'.

Hill said a directive of this kind within Defence will not have much impact as all personnel have access to a Defence e-mail address.

"A directive of this nature means that Defence personnel would be less likely to send their CVs out," he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs said Web access within the agency is open, however security protocols are in place for information which does not pass through the firewall, such as the use of Hotmail-like accounts.

"We have banned the protocol that Hotmail is using," the spokesperson said. An internal administrative instruction on the protocol of e-mail use and abuse has been circulated within the department.

Although the Department of Treasury does not block the use of Web-based e-mail accounts, a spokesperson said there is a policy that the Internet is for 'work use only', and that usage is monitored and tracked.

Story courtesy of Computerworld

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kelly Mills

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?