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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."

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Please Provide Links
By rcc on 5/8/2009 6:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
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.

Please provide link(s). Because, while the Patriot Missile System (the THAAD predecessor) was used to shoot down SCUDs, I don't believe that THAAD has yet had the opportunity.

They have run tests against SCUD like missiles.

Anything is possible, but I'd like some confirmation.

RE: Please Provide Links
By Captain Orgazmo on 5/8/2009 7:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
THAAD has only ever been test fired, never used operationally. In 2003 the Patriot missile system intercepted 8 Iraqi SCUDS.

In case you haven't noticed, Jason Mick is an incredibly amateurish writer, usually embellishing or sensationalizing his stories. He often adds statements or "facts" intended to give his articles the appearance of more depth, but in reality are completely ridiculous or false. I just read and commented on an article written by him mentioning the "gasoline well to pump to tailpipe" supply chain or something. I suppose in Mickland you just poke a hole in the ground, and out comes crystal clear 87 octane.

RE: Please Provide Links
By crystal clear on 5/9/2009 3:12:30 AM , Rating: 2
used to shoot down Scud missiles in Iraq.

Wrong the patriot missile was used against scuds in ISRAEL.

Israel experienced on an average 40 scud missiles attacks for days continously.
(I was there when it happened)

No Scud missile hit their desired targets (They are highly inaccurate due to their construction & design) & NO patriot missile succeeded in shooting down a SCUD.

Patriots were a failure ! - note they were operated by US army in Israel.

Dont believe all what the pentagon claims like malfunction etc etc - we all saw in the patriots in action against the scuds in Israel.

I repeat they were a failure-waste of money & ineffective.

The Israelis had in their R&D another solution namely the Arrow that was ultimately was taken up by the pentagon.

The US govt then financed the Israelis for further R&D work & test on the ARROW anti missile. systems.

All the R&D work/material/results was shared between the 2 countries.

The ARROW was test fired in/from Israel numerous times & tested against the SCUDS numerous times in the Mediterranean sea.

Now you will ask where did the scuds come from & who operated the scuds systems (truck mounted) for these test?

Russians immigrants in Israel who previousily worked in the Soviet Union on the SCUD manufacturing & testing + immigrants who served & trained in units that operated the SCUDS.

These Russian immigrants did the SCUD launching !....

The Israelis picked these SCUD systems + missile on the black market.

Corrupt generals/officials in the Soviet Unnion made their millions during the break up of the Soviet Union to sell anything to foreign countries (arms dealers & intelligence agencies) they wanted & worth the millions.

The Israelis picked up a lot secret material/blue prints etc plus equipment from these sources on just anything under the sky from the scuds to katuyashas to radar systems & more & more.

The pentagon has used Israel as a testing ground in all previous wars & miltary operations in betweeen & after till today.

The pentagon has/had tested all their top of the line arms/equipment in Israel -from the airforce to the army & navy in these real time situations.

Based on these results the equipments/tactics/stratergies are refined/modified/corrected/discarded or even better more R&D work for new arms & ammunations.

RE: Please Provide Links
By TerranMagistrate on 5/10/2009 1:12:42 PM , Rating: 2
You see, that's what I call planning ahead.

With Putin & friends at the helm of Russia for about a decade now, Israel getting it's hands on these aforementioned weapon systems would've a little bit harder. But luckily they got it done in the 90's.

RE: Please Provide Links
By rcc on 5/12/2009 3:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
I can't speak for Israel, but Patriot missiles did down SCUDs.

Having said that, I don't disagree that the Patriot system was waaaay overhyped by the media, mostly to make everyone feel secure. But the success that the system enjoyed was enabled by targeting inputs from the DSP satellites. Without that early warning net telling the batteries exactly where to aim to detect and lock on it would have been more of a "Target wha..... boom" exercise.

RE: Please Provide Links
By rcc on 5/12/2009 3:17:32 PM , Rating: 2

I'm disappointed that you have not either backed up your article/blog with links or data, or corrected/admitted the error.

Either way, take pride in your work.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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