Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

7/18/2008
09:25 AM
50%
50%

Secret Defense Data Lost on UK Government USBs

Yet more government storage shenanigans on the other side of the pond

5:20 PM

By James Rogers, Byte and Switch

The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted that 121 USB sticks, including five containing secret information, have been lost or stolen since 2004, in the British government’s latest embarrassing data breach .

The figures were released in response to an official question from Sarah Teather, a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, and are the latest in a string of British government data gaffes. The MoD’s missing USBs follow the loss of two disks containing welfare information on 25 million U.K. citizens, not to mention the loss of a bewildering array of laptops and mobile phones.

“Far from the problem getting better, it seems actually to be getting worse at the moment,” said Teather. “I think that the government has a duty to come clean and say whether or not anyone has been put at risk as a result of this – we need reassuring, for example, that none of our troops have been put at risk.”

The British government’s latest storage snafu comes less than a year after Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which is the U.K’s equivalent of the IRS was at the center of the country’s largest ever data loss.

The U.K.’s latest data loss heaps yet more pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a time when his government is pushing on with a controversial plan to implement national identity cards.

”The government are going ahead - to build this giant database for ID cards, and to put all this information into one format,” said Teather. “How can they expect us to trust them to keep our personal information safe in their unnecessary and expensive ID card scheme?”

The U.K., or course, is not the only country whose military secrets have been put at risk in a high-profile storage snafu.

Earlier this month, for example, Japan was left reeling from after the theft of a USB drive containing sensitive information on joint military exercises with the U.S. The country’s armed forces also hit the headlines in 2007 after sensitive information concerning the U.S.-built Aegis missile system was discovered on a serviceman’s home PC, resulting in an apology to U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates.

Sweden’s armed forces was also embarrassed earlier this year when a USB drive containing military secrets surfaced in a public library in Stockholm.

Last year, a survey revealed that almost three quarters of organizations house critical data on removable media despite numerous warnings about the security threats posed by the technology.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
When It Comes To Security Tools, More Isn't More
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  1/11/2021
US Capitol Attack a Wake-up Call for the Integration of Physical & IT Security
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  1/11/2021
IoT Vendor Ubiquiti Suffers Data Breach
Dark Reading Staff 1/11/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-28476
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
All versions of package tornado are vulnerable to Web Cache Poisoning by using a vector called parameter cloaking. When the attacker can separate query parameters using a semicolon (;), they can cause a difference in the interpretation of the request between the proxy (running with default configura...
CVE-2020-28473
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
The package bottle from 0 and before 0.12.19 are vulnerable to Web Cache Poisoning by using a vector called parameter cloaking. When the attacker can separate query parameters using a semicolon (;), they can cause a difference in the interpretation of the request between the proxy (running with defa...
CVE-2021-25173
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
An issue was discovered in Open Design Alliance Drawings SDK before 2021.12. A memory allocation with excessive size vulnerability exists when reading malformed DGN files, which allows attackers to cause a crash, potentially enabling denial of service (crash, exit, or restart).
CVE-2021-25174
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
An issue was discovered in Open Design Alliance Drawings SDK before 2021.12. A memory corruption vulnerability exists when reading malformed DGN files. It can allow attackers to cause a crash, potentially enabling denial of service (Crash, Exit, or Restart).
CVE-2021-25175
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
An issue was discovered in Open Design Alliance Drawings SDK before 2021.11. A NULL pointer dereference exists when rendering malformed .DXF and .DWG files. This can allow attackers to cause a crash, potentially enabling a denial of service attack (Crash, Exit, or Restart). This is issue 1 of 3.