Feeds

Afghan market sells US military flash drives

Bazaar security breach

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.