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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kelly Mills

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?