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BNL Cyber Security Guidelines

Brookhaven National Laboratory’s (BNL) main concerns are protecting data and systems critical to operations in pursuit of its mission. The Laboratory’s Computer Security Plan covers Laboratory systems, whether on-site and connected directly to the Laboratory network, or on- or off-site and connected to the Laboratory network by the telephone system, broadband connection, or any other means.

The procedures and rules described here cover these systems no matter who is the owner or the method of connection to the network. Laboratory employees and registered users are responsible for their own actions under the computer security policy, as well as for the actions of any person who they permit to access a Laboratory system.

Appropriate Use

Brookhaven National Laboratory’s single mission is science and the laboratory’s objective is to maintain an open scientific environment where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged and protected. Questions of proper or improper use of computers are normally management rather than technical issues and should be dealt with in the normal course of supervisory oversight. Examples of inappropriate and unacceptable use of computing and networking resources include, but are not limited to:

  • Legally prohibited activities on the Internet (child pornography, interstate gambling,);
  • Computer usage that reasonably offends other employees, users, or outsiders, or results in public embarrassment to the laboratory;
  • Computer usage that is not specifically approved and which consumes significant amounts of computer resources not commensurate with its benefit to the laboratory’s mission or which interferes with the performance of an employee’s assigned job responsibilities;
  • Operation of a private business or social activity unrelated to the laboratory;
  • Violation of license and other computer related contract provisions, particularly those that expose the laboratory to significant legal costs or damages.

Unauthorized and Malicious Access and Actions

Individuals are implicitly authorized to access accounts in their own name, and to alter or delete data in those accounts, and they may access files which are enabled for reading for a class of individuals including the person attempting to access them.

All employees and users are forbidden to attempt unauthorized entry to computer systems or accounts, or to attempt unauthorized damage, alteration, falsification or deletion of data (including software and email). This prohibition explicitly includes attempts to spoof or falsify email, network, or other information used to identify sources, destinations or other information about communications, data, or storage.

All employees and users are forbidden to attempt to cause denial of computing or network services at the Laboratory or use Laboratory resources to cause intentional damage or denial of service to computers outside of the BNL network. Serious negligence that results in service denials will be treated as any other negligence that results in equivalent damage to the laboratory mission.

Blatant Disregard for Laboratory Computer Security

Blatant disregard for Laboratory computer security will not be tolerated. The Chief Information Officer may advise managers about individual employees, or users, that specific computer security practices are unacceptable and that these practices should be corrected. Examples include those practices that unreasonably expose the Laboratory computers or increase the effort required by computer security personnel.

Privacy of Electronic Files, and Email

Computer and network resources are provided by BNL to its employees for business purposes. BNL understands and accepts a reasonable level of personal use of its resources. However, because these facilities are provided for business purposes, there is no guarantee of privacy. Contents of files and e-mails may be subject to review in the case of suspicious activity or during an ongoing investigation.

Publishing & Accessing Information on Electronic Networks

The technology of the Internet and the evolving applications and standards that support it (especially the World Wide Web) provide unprecedented power to access and publish information almost instantaneously. Brookhaven National Laboratory strongly encourages its responsible use.

Despite the new power of this technology, the fundamental policy of the Laboratory about information and the use of our computers and networks remain unchanging and simple:

Brookhaven National Laboratory’s single mission is science and the laboratory will maintain an open scientific environment where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged and protected. The use of government property is for the government’s purposes.