Charging USB Devices

#1
Bearing in mind that transferring data from/to a USB slot on MOD computers is only available with special, issued memory sticks, why is it now an offence to charge mp3 players/cameras/etc from the USB slot? Also, BFBS claim that anyone caught will have their device confiscated - isn't that theft?
 
#2
I guess if you break standing orders, they can do what they want. We all know the Army has its own rules and laws, and it's tough shit if you break them and get your goods taken!
 
#3
Or just be much more tactful in order not to get caught...
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
would it be the security implications? most devices with any kind of memory can be used as bulk storage devices.
 
#5
You could have downloaded an mp3 track which will play fine, but have a nasty little virus hidden inside it. That could then load it self on to the pc you are charging from. My little 4gb Archos mp3 player uses the same usb cable to transfer data and to charge as well.

I'm a bit of a biff on pcs, but that was what we were told at work.
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
#6
As already said, it could be used to download information or upload viruses, however, there are available on the market, plugs that have a USB socket on that fit into a mains socket.
 
#7
Charge your USB items from either a socket or your own laptop.

Simples.

For USB chargers see Mains Charger for any USB Device

Just spotted this. World Travel Adapter with USB I have the non-USB version of this item and it is jolly good. It is fused for protection and has the ability to plug every sort of plug in to it, and it can plug in to every socket (for mains). No transfomer cabability though (except the USB adaptor).
 
#8
Read your Security Operating Procedures (SyOPs). You will have signed them, physically or electronically, before you were granted access to the system. If not your Admins are going to be having a chat with the ITSO.

iPod/cameras are still USB storage devices so irrespective of 'just charging' or not they are still prohibited.

As for the theft, nope. You will find something in SyOPs about them being confiscated if found attached. Mine went a little further and added the caveat 'will be removed and may be disposed of IAW with HMG instructions for a system operating at (insert PM here)'.
I found a large wooden mallet vs an illegal USB device was quite satisfying.

IT Security. Stopping you doing what you want to do with the issued hardware. Not your personal PC/Laptop, but your issued equipment.
 
#9
If MDP were really bored ........When electricity is used without due authority, or dishonestly wasted of diverted you should charge the offence of abstracting electricity contrary to section 13 Theft Act 1968 .
 
#10
There was a dit out about a month or more ago. Connect any USB device to a MoD computer without authority, and it will be confiscated. What happens next is up to you. It can be wiped clean at your expense (this is a lot more than just deleting everything, and will prove very expensive) and returned to you, or you can agree to forfeit it and it will be destroyed. If there are personal files of a sentimental nature or valuable nature, you can (at a cost to you) have these files preserved before the thing is trashed either by wiping or smashing. So, no, it's not theft.
 
#11
As soon as you plug a USB device in to a computer that device becomes the same security level as the computer, so if you were to use a ms laptop in theatre like people have, the device becomes secret. Then you end up in the poo. Get the royal signals det to brief your unit on IT security well worth it and quite scary.
 
#12
Bearing in mind that transferring data from/to a USB slot on MOD computers is only available with special, issued memory sticks, why is it now an offence to charge mp3 players/cameras/etc from the USB slot? Also, BFBS claim that anyone caught will have their device confiscated - isn't that theft?
Yes, it is, if there is dishonesty and an intention to permanantly deprive you of your property. If such confiscation is officially sanctioned it may, in addition, amount to a breach of Article 1 Protocol 1 guaranteeing the peaceful enjoyment of possessions within section 1(1)(b), section 6(1) and Part II Schedule 1 Human Rights Act 1998.

However, there is an element of ex turpi causa non oritur actio which may affect civil recovery in the tort of conversion, since in charging your equipment in this way you may well face a criminal charge of abstracting electricity contrary to section 13 Theft Act 1968, an offence carrying a maximum penalty not exceeding five years imprisonment as well as a service disciplinary charge of disobedience to the appropiate standing order prohibiing such an activity.
 
#13
Didn't Bradley Manning plug his "MP3 player" into his computer to download the Wikileaks files?
 
#14
Didn't Bradley Manning plug his "MP3 player" into his computer to download the Wikileaks files?
Quite right, Manning said he wanted to listen to music as he worked.

USB devices can be a problem even if not used by a traitor. A few years ago in the US Walmart was selling a lot of digital picture frames made in China. Each frame would install a virus on any Windows computer that would "call home" to an IP address in a block assigned to the Chinese military. I fully understand why there are rules against doing this. Too bad Manning's supervisors did not enforce the rules.
 
#15
#16
Bearing in mind that transferring data from/to a USB slot on MOD computers is only available with special, issued memory sticks, why is it now an offence to charge mp3 players/cameras/etc from the USB slot?
Because not all MOD computers have the software installed that prevents the USB device driver from loading (normally either Sanctuary - or Advanced Port Control). And, even if they do, some times it does get turned off or doesn't work properly. So if people get used to (people) plugging their devices in to charge, it is going to be quite hard to work out when they are doing something that is technically harmfull.

Also, BFBS claim that anyone caught will have their device confiscated - isn't that theft?
Bearing in mind the strictly legal and the "you've read and signed the SyOPS" arguments - I generally buy my own notebooks. If I write PM notes, at what point does the MOD get the right to seize the notebook (bearing in mind that paper tends not to have SyOPS)?

Personally, I don't think it is theft, although you could try to make Iolis's HRA argument. I'd defend you, just for the bar story points :nod: I've defended soldiers even more obviously guilty, often with a straight face.

Edited to add: and, technically, I don't think connecting a USB device is an offence. It is a breach of a standing order, which is what can be prosecuted as an offence. Pointlessly trivial, I know, but the law is made of such building blocks.
 
#17
Bearing in mind the strictly legal and the "you've read and signed the SyOPS" arguments - I generally buy my own notebooks. If I write PM notes, at what point does the MOD get the right to seize the notebook (bearing in mind that paper tends not to have SyOPS)?


.
If you write PM notes then you, as the originator, have a responsibility to ensure that the document carries the appropriate PM and is protected in an adequate manner IAW the requirements of the JSP.
 
#19
Mind-numbingly so in fact. Right up to the point where something goes Pete Tong and suddenly the hierarchy are looking for a scapegoat. That's when the individual suddenly discovers that life gets a bit more 'interesting'. Still, users thinking they know better or that the rules don't apply to them makes my job more secure and continues to pay the mortgage ;-)
 
#20
Quite right, Manning said he wanted to listen to music as he worked.

USB devices can be a problem even if not used by a traitor. A few years ago in the US Walmart was selling a lot of digital picture frames made in China. Each frame would install a virus on any Windows computer that would "call home" to an IP address in a block assigned to the Chinese military. I fully understand why there are rules against doing this. Too bad Manning's supervisors did not enforce the rules.

Manning didnt use an mp3 player or any other USB device. He took an album recorded on a cd-rw to pass any spot checks if needed, erased it whilst working and then wrote the info onto the disc.

Granted he would have had to do this a few times to get all the data out.

I would like to think that if a computer, in this situation, connected to a high security network was downloading a lot of information quite regularly that any logging system would report it to enable an audit to be performed.

Seems quite amusing that the powers that be are once more focusing on the USB threat but seem to be quite happy to ignore the usage of the optical drive inside the desktop.

Entire system should of used thin clients running from a server from the beginning with only monitor, keyboard/mouse, power and a network connection present, but then the MOD wouldnt be able to be ripped off as much. £800 to move a system to an office next door which is already wired in..WTF!
 

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