A government employee has been blamed for infecting the computer network of the American Geological Survey with malware. This is because the employee is said to have visited no less than 9,000 porn sites via his USGS laptop. Part of it was hosted in Russia.

The employee not only visited numerous porn sites via his work laptop, he also stored photos and – unconsciously – malware. He also stored material from his work on a USB stick and an Android smartphone. As a result, the malware found its way into the network of the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, which does not possess any secret information.

Commonly used malware

The exact nature of the malware that ended up on the network has not been disclosed. Only the U.S. government has revealed that this is a malware that is often used to damage or disable computers or to steal confidential information. The malware in question also spreads quickly over infected networks.

The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which investigated the malware, recommends that the USGS should henceforth apply a strict policy with blacklists of web domains. Staff and their use of the Internet should be monitored more closely and the use of non-approved USB devices and personal mobile devices should be restricted.

A continuous effort to detect and block known pornographic websites, as well as websites with a suspicious origin, is likely to reinforce preventive measures, writes the OIG. Incidentally, much of the malware on networks comes from careless personnel. People visit unsafe sites, or do not properly protect their devices. No matter how secure a network is, it stands or falls by its weakest link.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.