When it comes to national security, one of the keys to keeping the American President safe is the fleet of executive aircraft -- from presidential helicopters, to the ultra-high-tech jet fortress, Air Force One. Thus it came as quite a shock to the security community when security firm Tiversa discovered blueprints of the Barack Obama's presidential helicopter, Marine One, being hosted by an Iranian IP address.
The leaked plans included details on the helicopter's communications and engineering. Describes Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, "We found a file containing entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One,which is the president's helicopter. What appears to be a defense contractor in Bethesda, MD had a file sharing program on one of their systems that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One."
Mr. Boback believes the leak may be innocent in nature. He points out that many file sharing programs automatically share the contents of your entire hard drive. The employee may merely have downloaded a P2P client to download music and videos and ended up unwittingly leaking the highly confidential information on Marine One. Says Mr. Boback, "When downloading one of these file-sharing programs, you are effectively allowing others around the world to access your hard drive."
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who consults with Tiversa, says that at least the breach has been fully traced. He states, "We found where this information came from. We know exactly what computer it came from. I'm sure that person is embarrassed and may even lose their job, but we know where it came from and we know where it went."
According to Mr. Boback, they have notified the appropriate authorities, which are taking steps to safeguard the President. He states, "They are working through a process to maintain the security of the president."
Iran is just one of several nations in the Middle East to comb P2P networks, he says. He states, "We've noticed it out of Pakistan, Yemen, Qatar, and China. They are actively searching for information that is disclosed in this fashion because it is a great source of intelligence."
Rep. Jason Altmire (D - PA) said he was disturbed by the incident, and called on measures to monitor P2P networks more carefully for classified information. He states, "Well, I'm very troubled to hear this because there are obviously elements in Iran that are not friendly to the United States and it would be an understatement to say that this type of information could be very detrimental were it to fall into the wrong hands."
Retired Gen. Clark aptly points out, "Once it's out there, it's hard to get it back. I don't think the full ramifications of this have been understood by the watchdog agencies."