Feeds

WikiLeaks accused of tapping P2P for secret docs

Gov probes claims of 21st Century scavenger hunt

Build a business case: developing custom apps

As much as half of the secret documents posted by WikiLeaks may have been siphoned from peer-to-peer users who incorrectly configured their file-sharing software, according to evidence gathered by a security firm.

Tiversa, a Pennsylvania company that in 2009 uncovered confidential blueprints of the US President's Marine One helicopter being traded over P2P networks, told Bloomberg News the evidence suggests that WikiLeaks volunteers actively sought out confidential documents, despite claims by the whistle-blower website that it doesn't know who provides it with the information it gets.

“There are not that many whistleblowers in the world to get you millions of documents,” Tiversa chief executive Robert Boback told Bloomberg. “However, if you are getting them yourselves, that information is out there and available.”

The company has turned the evidence over to government officials investigating WikiLeaks, Boback told the news service. An attorney for WikiLeaks called the claim “completely false in every regard.”

Among the findings leading to Tiversa's claim:

  • Over a stretch of 60 minutes on February 7, 2009, four computers with Swedish IP addresses issued 413 searches over LimeWire and Kazaa for government documents. The searches unearthed a survey of the Pentagon's Pacific Missile Range Facility stored on a computer in Hawaii. A little more than two months later, the document was renamed and posted to WikiLeaks. The post said the sensitive information “was first publicly revealed by WikiLeaks working with our source.”
  • In late 2009, WikiLeaks published a spreadsheet detailing potential terrorist targets in California's Fresno County. The document, which noted locations of caches of bomb-grade fertilizers and other potentially vulnerable sites, was inadvertently indexed on P2P networks by a California state employee in August, 2008, more than a year before the secret-spilling site posted it.
  • Also in 2009, WikiLeaks published Army intelligence documents that reported on the movements of Taliban leaders and other confidential details. Those documents were exposed on P2P networks as early as September of 2008, eight months earlier.
  • The Pentagon's 58-page Afghanistan Order of Battle was available on P2P networks in January 2009. It was posted to WikiLeaks four months later

It's not the first time WikiLeaks has been accused of trawling public networks for the confidential material it posts. Last Year, The New Yorker reported that WikiLeaks obtained “millions of secret transmissions” that passed over the Tor anonymizing network. WikiLeaks vehemently denied the claim, but so far no correction has been issued by the magazine.

Bloomberg said the information scavenging by WikiLeaks, if true, “would contradict its stated mission as a facilitator of leaked material by insiders whose identities, [founder Julian] Assange has said the group takes measures not to know.

But it seems just as plausible that someone not affiliated with WikiLeaks performed the P2P searches and anonymously provided the resulting documents to WikiLeaks. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
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.
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?