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Defense Agencies Drop Ban On Portable Storage Devices

Critics say new policies, practices may not be enforced
After more than year in force, the Pentagon's ban on USB storage devices and other portable media has been dropped, according to news reports.

The ban was put in place in November 2008 by the U.S. Strategic Command after a variation of the SillyFDC worm was found to be spreading through military networks by copying itself from one removable drive to the next.

The restrictions prevented defense employees from using all forms of USB flash media, including thumb drives, memory sticks and cards, and camera memory cards, as well as some other removable media. Not surprisingly, users were frustrated by the ban and reportedly pushed hard for its repeal.

Some officials qualified the lifting of the ban, stating that portable drives will only be allowed in specific circumstances, when the portable devices are government-owned and inventoried. But others said they doubt whether the policies will be strictly followed or enforced.

"This is good for us hackers," said a blogger on one hacker site.

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