Feeds

Afghan market sells US military flash drives

Bazaar security breach

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Purloined flash drives containing classified US military secrets have turned up for sale in a bazaar in Afghanistan. Shopkeepers in the marketplace in Bagram claim the kit was sold to them by cleaners, garbage collectors and other local workers at the nearby US airbase.

The LA Times reports that flash memory drives from the base are being sold in the second hand bins of the local marketplace, alongside knives, watches, refrigerators and packets of Viagra also taken from the base. The paper reports that the stolen computer drives could expose military secrets (base defence information and the names of allegedly corrupt Afghan officials, for example) as well as the social security numbers and other personal information of military personnel to all and sundry.

An LA Times reporter bought flash disks at the bazaar that listed the names of suspected militants among other secrets that included the personal details of 700 US troops. Failure to securely dispose of hard disk drives that subsequently end up for sale is an issue that also affects mainstream businesses.

Two years ago we reported how a customer database and the current access codes to the supposedly secure Intranet of one of Europe's largest financial services group was left on a hard disk offered for sale on eBay. The disk was subsequently purchased for just £5 by mobile security outfit Pointsec Mobile Technologies.

Last April Oxfordshire-based security firm SecureTest found sensitive MoD-related files on a laptop bought from council rubbish dump. Governments have standards mandating the secure destruction of data (such as the UK's InfoSec standard 5) but departments often fail to follow government guidelines while commercial firms are often ignorant of the issue.

A study by data destruction firm Life Cycle Service and Glamorgan University found that nearly half of a sample of over 100 discarded hard drives contained personal information, contravening the Data Protection Act. One in five (20 per cent) contained financial information about the organisations which owned the disks. Less then 10 per cent of the drives left functional were completely clear of data. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.