Troops in the Middle East should soon have faster, safer access to the latest computers on the market, as a result of a small disk the Defense Department developed that instantly standardizes the security settings on Microsoft Windows desktops deployed overseas, Pentagon officials said.
Military personnel assigned to the Combined Joint Operations Area in Afghanistan and Iraq are expected to begin using copies of the so-called unified golden master within the next several months. A golden master is a model of an operating system and all the code — typically stored on a DVD — needed to run a computer safely.
The disks are intended to address the long-standing problem of securing computers during combat operations, when there isn’t enough staff or expertise to consistently install patches — fixes to program bugs. For personnel focused on installing email and other essential collaboration tools, configuring security controls becomes a secondary priority, some information assurance experts said.
Defense officials are scheduled to provide more details on the initiative later this month at the National Cybersecurity Innovation Conference, hosted by the SANS Institute, a computer security training center.