Marine Corps News Release
Release #:
Division of Public Affairs, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Washington, DC 20380-1775
Commercial: (703) 614-7678/9 DSN: 224-7678/9 FAX: (703) 697-5362

Date: 04/07/97
Story by Sgt. William Poff, MCB Hawaii


MARINE CORPS BASE, Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu -- After an attempt by the Naval Security Group at Virginia Beach, Va., to breach and tamper with the base's computer configuration files, MCB Hawaii was the only location to properly report the incident.

Due to in-place security monitoring systems at the Information Systems Management Office here, the detection process was a simple check of the system by one of the office's workers.

"When I checked the system Monday morning, the computer listed two failed attempts to breach and alter the configuration files," said GS-9 Anna N. Zahniser, Internet service provider, ISMO. "The configuration files instruct the computer on what it needs to do to function.

"The security group attempted to break into every site in the Marine Corps," added Zahniser, a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves.

Because of Zahniser's reserve duties with the Marine Forces Pacific Intelligence Systems branch at Camp H.M. Smith, she was well versed on the significance of the attempted security breach and how to respond.

"I immediately filled out a formal incident report and sent a copy to the Marine Corps security manager at Network Operations Center, Quantico, Va.," said Zahniser, 24, who is
finishing a degree in computer science. "I also sent a copy of the report to the Fleet Information Warfare Center at Pearl Harbor and my chain of command."

Being the only base to report the attempted break-in, Zahniser received numerous congratulations on her exemplary performance from her superiors and even from the very security organization which attempted the breach.

"If they would have been able to enter our system and alter it, the Internet capabilities for the base would have been shut down until we could rebuild it," Zahniser said. "It would have taken several hours for our department to get the system back on line."

The personnel at ISMO have been working for several months to strengthen the security of the system to prevent this sort of incident. This is not the first attempt by an outside agency to gain unauthorized entry into the system, according to Zahniser, and those loopholes are being fixed systematically. (Sgt. William Poff, MCB Hawaii)