The Info Warrior

By Deborah Radcliff, Computerworld |  Development

Sachs hasn't been on the job long enough to chase down any serious attack on DOD systems yet. But Mark Duck has. As an early information warrior in 1994, Duck took a job as network manager at Air Force Research Laboratory, known then as Rome Labs, in Rome, N.Y. In so doing, he stepped right into an attack on the Air Force Research Lab network.

Duck noticed that several of the lab's servers had been compromised at root level, and he made a phone call that helped launch the biggest compputer crime investigation in military history. It spread to more than 100 downstream computers, including Air Force contracting agencies, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and even the South Korean Atomic Research Institute.

"I'm the first line of defense," says Duck, who's now IT enterprise director at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. As such, he blocks and tracks numerous attacks on the lab's network. Duck also spends a lot of time on employee education. "A week after a tutorial on e-mail viruses, I embedded a virus in JavaScript and sent it anonymously to our 1,200 users." he says. "The virus secretly redirected those who click the attachment to 'MyEvilWebSite.com,' which had a note reminding them they shouldn't open unsolicited attachments. Within seven minutes, 154 of my users had been registered at that site."

The exciting work and ability to learn new skills has kept Duck in military civil service for almost seven years and has kept Sachs enlisted for almost 20 years. But both plan to move to the private sector in the next year.

"The private sector is also under information warfare attack," Duck says. "It's just different. Instead of actual war, they have to worry about espionage and liability."

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