Feeds

Net blows CIA agents' cover

Felix Leiter fingered by data aggregators

Security for virtualized datacentres

A trawl of the net has allowed a US paper to compile a list of the personal details of 2,653 CIA workers. The Chicago Tribune said it compiled its dossier from public records (such as telephone listings, property tax records, voting rosters, legal judgments and business incorporation papers) accessible to anyone with the nous enough to know the system and pay data aggregators a fee.

In this way the paper was able to compile lists of the names, places of work, addresses and phone numbers of hundred of workers at the US intelligence agency, including details of covert operatives. Before the advent of the internet the data would have only be available to people visiting local libraries and record offices, a far less practical proposition.

The Trib held off from publishing the list, at the CIA's request. The paper was also able to uncover the location of CIA facilities in Chicago, Florida, Pennsylvania and Washington state. Some are heavily guarded while others appear to be private residences, a "cover" the CIA would doubtless like to maintain.

LexisNexis, one of the US's largest data aggregators, maintains that it only does business with established organisations that can show why they need access to the data such as government agencies, employers, telemarketers, bill collectors, private investigators. Only special classes of clients (such as health insurance firms) get access to the most sensitive information.

Large US data aggregators, such as ChoicePoint and Lexis Nexis, were the subject of consumer security breaches last year. As if that wasn't bad enough smaller agencies are prepared to hand out sensitive data to anyone prepared to flash the plastic. The Chicago Tribune notes that going to smaller operators is more time consuming than purchasing a comprehensive profile from a single source. However it's possible to obtain a comprehensive profile on targets using these more unconventional sources, the paper's investigation reveals.

A CIA spokeswoman conceded that the net had more it harder to shield agents' identities. "Cover is a complex issue that is more complex in the internet age," Jennifer Dyck told the BBC. She added that the agency is developing unspecified remedies ("we don't want the bad guys to know what we're fixing") to address the issue. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS
Beancounter reckons dabs-scanning tech is the next big moneypit
Microsoft's Office Delve wants work to be more like being on Facebook
Office Graph, social features for Office 365 going public
Alibaba swings a large one with STONKING IPO legal bills
Chinese e-commerce beast searches for $21bn from investors
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.