Feeds

Defense-contract discs sold in African market for $40

Northrop Grumman and Pentagon data dumped

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Dumped hard drives with US defense data have turned up for open sale in a West African market.

A team of Canadian journalism students bought a hard drive containing information on multi-million dollar contracts between military contractor Northrop Grumman and the Pentagon for just $40 in a market near Accra, Ghana. The exercise was part of shooting a documentary on e-waste by Vancouver journalism students, researching what happens to the West's discarded and donated electronics.

"You'd think a security contractor that constantly deals with very secret proprietary information would probably want to wipe their drives," Blake Sifton, one of the three graduate journalism students told CBC. The team bought seven hard drives at a market in the port of Tema, a major point of entry for electronic waste from Europe and North America into Africa.

Northrop Grumman is reported to be investigating how an unencrypted hard drive containing sensitive data on the firm ended up on an African market, in violation of its established kit disposal procedures.

"Based on the documents we were shown, we believe this hard drive may have been stolen after one of our asset-disposal vendors took possession of the unit," Northrop Grumman told CBC.

A documentary of the students' research, Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground, aired in the PBS program Frontline/World on Tuesday. The disposal of electronic waste is controlled by European and US regulations but spare - often broken - kit often finds its way to Africa and other regions of the developing world where it is dumped. Cannibalized parts end up on markets while the rest of the kit is piled together and burned.

Sifton recalled seeing seven fires spewing "black, sticky, acrid smoke" at one Ghanian dump. "The ground is just scorched absolutely everywhere. Everywhere you walk, there's shards of plastic and metal and glass protruding from the ground."

The fires are used to extract scrap metal, valued at just 50 cents a kilogram, which locals use to scratch out a meager existence. It's the effect on the local environment and people of the West's throw-away culture around electronic kit - rather than the information security element, which is well understood - that Sifton and his colleagues are trying to highlight.

Sifton added that he did visit universities in Ghana supplied with computers donated from the West that would have otherwise been unaffordable. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?