“An analysis of the requirements, vulnerabilities and risk mitigations of using social networking sites, along with other Web 2.0 capabilities, is being conducted to support a new policy being developed regarding the use of Web 2.0 by the (DoD),” according to a statement sent Monday to SCMagazineUS.com.
In May, all domestic Army directors of information management (DOIMs) were directed to unblock Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Flickr, and Vimeo on all domestic, unclassified military local area networks. The Army order was made to “leverage social media sites as a medium to allow soldiers to ‘tell the Army story' and to facilitate the dissemination of strategic, unclassified information,” the order stated.
Other social networking sites remained banned, including YouTube, Pandora, Photobucket, MySpace, and MTV.
Currently, senior DoD leadership has not come to a decision as to whether it will block access to all social networking sites, the statement said.
“As with any internet-based capabilities, in addition to the merits and benefits, there are implementation challenges and operational risks that must be understood and mitigated,” the statement said.
Social networking provide a number of benefits to service members, Dave Meizlik, director or marketing at web security vendor Websense, told SCMagazineUS.com on Monday. For example, they can help with recruiting efforts and enable soldiers to communicate with friends and family.
But social networking sites do come with their risks, such as malware attacks that could lead to confidential data leakage.
Meizlik said the issue is greater than whether to block the most popular social networking sites, since the majority of sites today contain Web 2.0 components, such as allowing user-generated content, and are subject to similar data loss and malware concerns.