Print 57 comment(s) - last by rcc.. on May 12 at 3:17 PM

Confidential details about the U.S.'s THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) ground to air missile defence system, used to shoot down Scud missiles in Iraq, were found on a hard drive by British researchers. The researchers also found a wealth of other personal information and medical records from Lockheed Martin and several other major corporations or government entitities.  (Source: The Daily Mail)
A hard drive has been carelessly released, but is fortunately in safe hands

Hot off the heels of the  of selling the B-2 stealth bomber's radar spectrum to a Russian national and intrusions by Chinese hackers, the U.S. Armed Forces have another leak on their hands.  Researchers analyzing 300 hard drives bought at computer fairs and on the internet auction site eBay discovered a surprise -- a hard drive containing U.S. missile defense secrets that was not properly wiped by contractor Lockheed Martin.

The research project was conducted by BT's Security Research Centre in England in collaboration with the University of Glamorgan in Wales, Edith Cowan University in Australia, and Longwood University in the US.  According to British news site The Daily Mail, the researchers made the startling discovery that the hard drive in question contained highly sensitive information on test launch procedures of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) ground to air missile defense system, used to shoot down Scud missiles in Iraq.

Also on the drive were Lockheed Martin's internal security policies, blueprints of facilities, and personal information on employees including social security numbers. 

On other hard drives, the researchers discovered a wealth of additional information from other companies on employees, including bank account details, medical records, confidential business plans, financial company data, personal id numbers, and job descriptions.  The drives were purchased in or shipped to the UK, America, Germany, France and Australia.  Over 34 percent of the drives, according to researchers, contained "information of either personal data that could be identified to an individual or commercial data identifying a company or organisation."

Two disks from England's Lanarkshire NHS Trust hold patient medical records, images of x-rays, medical staff shifts and sensitive and confidential staff letters from Monklands and Hairmyres hospitals.  A disk from an Australian nursing home contained pictures of patients and their wound.  A disk sold in France contained network data and security logs from the German Embassy in Paris.  Other disks contained secret business information from an auto company and a UK-based fashion company.

Dr Andy Jones, head of information security research at BT, states, "This is the fourth time we have carried out this research and it is clear that a majority of organisations and private individuals still have no idea about the potential volume and type of information that is stored on computer hard disks.  For a very large proportion of the disks we looked at we found enough information to expose both individuals and companies to a range of potential crimes such as fraud, blackmail and identity theft.  Businesses also need to be aware that they could also be acting illegally by not disposing of this kind of data properly."

Dr Iain Sutherland of the University of Glamorgan adds, "Of significant concern is the number of large organisations that are still not disposing of confidential information in a secure manner. In the current financial climate they risk losing highly valuable propriety data."

A Lockheed Martin spokesperson commented on the alleged data leak, "Lockheed Martin is not aware of any compromise of data related to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program.  Until Lockheed Martin can evaluate the hard drive in question, it is not possible to comment further on its potential contents or source."

A spokesperson for NHS Lanarkshire blames a corporate partner, commenting, "This study refers to hard disks which were disposed of in 2006. At that time NHS Lanarkshire had a contractual agreement with an external company for the disposal of computer equipment.  In this instance the hard drives had been subjected to a basic level of data removal by the company and had then been disposed of inappropriately. This was clearly in breach of contract and was wholly unacceptable."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: but how much porn did they find?
By AnnihilatorX on 5/8/2009 12:14:33 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I encrypt my porn collection with TwoFish+Serpent and then AES with TrueCrypt.

RE: but how much porn did they find?
By Mojo the Monkey on 5/8/09, Rating: -1
RE: but how much porn did they find?
By xRyanCat on 5/8/2009 2:09:04 PM , Rating: 5
... Um no? Do you even know how encryption works?

Unless NSA has some magical prime numbers or an infinite number of roadrunner clusters, we're all in the clear.

And all the encryption algorithms I can think of ARE open source... AES, TrueCrypts implementation, Serpent, Twofish, Blowfish... All open source or in the public domain. Sorry to put an end to your conspiracy theories.

By cornelius785 on 5/8/2009 2:29:44 PM , Rating: 3
I completely agree with you. One of the fundmental concepts in cryptography is that the algorithm is well known to all, thus ALL of the security comes from the key. I forget the actaully term for this. I would never trust an encryption algorithm that wasn't 'open'. I highly doubt there are any backdoors in any widely used encryption algorithm. It would have been discovered through cryptanalysis as a 'flaw' and the algorithm would be shelved.

There is a speck of truth in the 'backdoor in encryption algorithm' conspiracy thing, check into DES, NSA, and S-boxes.

RE: but how much porn did they find?
By callmeroy on 5/8/2009 2:50:09 PM , Rating: 3
Serioulsy i agree with the others --- do you even know what you are talking about here? At least go to a website for foundational knowledge.....

RE: but how much porn did they find?
By Mojo the Monkey on 5/8/2009 4:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
I actually read a very interesting and sourced article about this a couple of years ago. I'll try to find a link.

By Mojo the Monkey on 5/8/2009 5:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
Cant find it, but some examples:

The actual article I read was in print, which might be why I'm having trouble finding it. It details the history of some of the first early cryptographic programmers and their harassment by the intelligence agencies to build backdoors into their standards.

From the articles above, it looks like they're still at it. Who knows what we dont know.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Latest Headlines

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki