Print 10 comment(s) - last by Chocobollz.. on Feb 4 at 3:02 PM

U.S. military records were found on an MP3 player purchased by a New Zealand man in a thrift store in Oklahoma

A New Zealand man who purchased a used MP3 player from a thrift store in Oklahoma was startled when he found names, Social Security numbers, cell phone numbers, and other personal information of U.S. military members on the device.

Chris Ogle reportedly paid $9 for the MP3 player in February or March of 2008, and found the files when he connected the device to his computer.  Ogle also found troop deployments in Afghanistan, equipment deployments, private information on some soldiers, including which female soldiers were pregnant.  The information was reportedly from 2005, and also included mission briefings for both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I was very surprised," he said.  "I was curious enough to keep looking and I guess the more I looked the more intense it seemed to me.  Each time I looked at it I became more convinced... it was possibly something bigger."

After the story first broke in Ogle's home country, a New Zealand journalist contacted at least one soldier using the information found in the files.  Even though most of the information is outdated and wouldn't have hurt future missions, it opened up U.S. soldiers to possible identity theft and personal harm assuming the information fell into the wrong hands.

The U.S. Embassy has given Ogle a replacement MP3 player in exchange for the old device, while the U.S. government will now send the device to Washington to try and figure out how the information ended up on the device.

The U.S. government has previously lost personal information of soldiers and veterans before, when the Department of Veterans Affairs lost a laptop containing the personal information of millions of soldiers.  Computer hard drives and USB keys with military information have also been sold and traded during Afghani street markets, government officials said last year.  

It's becoming more common place for laptops, USB keys and HDDs with personal information to end up stolen or lost, with very little accountability from the government to prevent such incidents from taking place.

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Why isn't it encrypted?
By wordsworm on 2/2/2009 8:25:12 AM , Rating: 3
Seems to me that the military should consider encryption technology. At least that way the information would be virtually indecipherable. Stuff like this shouldn't fall into public hands. An unscrupulous person might have tried to find a buyer for the data. This sort of stuff is worth a lot of money on the black market.

RE: Why isn't it encrypted?
By wwwebsurfer on 2/2/2009 8:40:11 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. It's not like encryption technology is new, expensive, or impractical. Let's get on the ball people...

RE: Why isn't it encrypted?
By priusone on 2/2/2009 9:39:24 AM , Rating: 2
It was probably used as a thumb drive to move the file between machines or for backup. That was a common practice while I was deployed. We were all briefed before leaving theatre to erase and overwrite devices that might have sensitive data on them.

RE: Why isn't it encrypted?
By AnnihilatorX on 2/2/2009 7:43:59 PM , Rating: 3
That's not the main point. Why is that a mp3 player is used to store all those information is beyond me.

MP3 players cannot have encryption because of how the player works. Such tasks are better left to a USB memory drive.

RE: Why isn't it encrypted?
By wordsworm on 2/3/2009 1:50:55 PM , Rating: 2
Data can be encrypted on anything. Simply encrypt the data, give it a 32 bit key known only to authorized machines, and that data would have been virtually uncrackable by all but supercomputers dedicated to cracking it.

RE: Why isn't it encrypted?
By Chocobollz on 2/4/2009 2:59:29 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, we all could just use, for example, WinRAR, to encrypt data. I myself use a 16 random number to encrypt my secret data, and I memorize those numbers into my brain :D I know 16 bytes seems too few but it's better than nothing lol.

Fix the title
By chmilz on 2/2/2009 10:47:41 AM , Rating: 3
The title reads that a NZ man purchased an MP3 player using US military data as currency.

RE: Fix the title
By tastyratz on 2/2/2009 11:28:45 AM , Rating: 4
I opened the link with the same impression.
To keep people from being mislead maybe you should include the word "containing" in the title?

RE: Fix the title
By xphile on 2/3/2009 8:24:53 PM , Rating: 4
Day 2 Headlines: NZ Man buys House, Yacht, Lamborghini and Retirement Fund using US military data as currency.

Comments: "Geez who knew this stuff was so valuable. And I'm only on page 3. This page 19 here headed "Launch Codes" - that's definitely going on Ebay tomorrow..."

RE: Fix the title
By Chocobollz on 2/4/2009 3:02:12 PM , Rating: 2

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