Feeds

'Symbolic' Grauniad drive-smash was not just a storage fail

The whole thing was embarrassing, says Reg man Chris Mellor

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Blocks and Files The word "cabinet" can mean a piece of furniture in which you store something and the digital version of this is a disk drive or flash drive. Having said that, the idea that by destroying the drive you destroy the data is so far from reality in today's data centres that anyone professing it is profoundly idiotic.

Which brings us to the Guardian newspaper and the UK's Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. It's reported by the BBC that Prime Minister David Cameron ordered Hayward to contact the paper over its reporting of information leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

He did so and its editor Alan Rusbridger says the newspaper had to physically destroy computer hard drives as a result. The Graun reports:

On Saturday 20 July, in a deserted basement of the Guardian's King's Cross offices, a senior editor and a Guardian computer expert, David Blishen, used angle grinders and other tools to pulverise the hard drives and memory chips on which the encrypted files had been stored.

As they worked they were watched by technicians from Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) who took notes and photographs, but who left empty-handed.

The idea that the data on the hard drives hadn't been copied to backup systems in the offices or the cloud is so far beyond belief as to be risible. The GCHQ technicians must have been laughing up their sleeves, and the Guardian's computer expert chortling away up his. Both knew data copies existed, as the Guardian reports make clear:

The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, had earlier informed government officials that other copies of the files existed outside the country and that the Guardian was neither the sole recipient nor steward of the files leaked by Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor. But the government insisted that the material be either destroyed or surrendered.

The destruction is described as a symbolic act, but all it symbolised was ignorance and face-saving. It was petty and stupid, the action of an ignorant and frightened bully, and that is how the UK government's behaviour in this affair seems: petty, ignorant and bullying. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Microsoft's Nadella: SQL Server 2014 means we're all about data
Adds new big data tools in quest for 'ambient intelligence'
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.