Feeds

Afghan market sells US military flash drives

Bazaar security breach

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.