Are P2P networks leaking military secrets?
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Thread: Are P2P networks leaking military secrets?

  1. #1
    AO French Antique News Whore
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Are P2P networks leaking military secrets?

    A new Web log is posting what it purports are pictures, documents and letters from U.S. soldiers and military bases in Iraq and elsewhere--all of which the site's operator claims to have downloaded from peer-to-peer networks such as Gnutella.
    The "See What You Share" site has been online for a week and has published photos ranging from a crashed military jet to a screenshot of a spreadsheet file that appears to include names, addresses and telephone numbers of marines.

    The site's operator, a 52-year-old named Rick Wallace, wrote in a blog posting that he is trying to help the military understand how serious a security risk unmonitored peer-to-peer file sharing can be. CNET could not independently verify the authenticity of the documents posted on the site.

    "I want everyone to know that we can be our own worst enemies when we don't understand the full power of our technology," Wallace wrote in a posting explaining the site. "I want every military and government agency to see firsthand what is being shared with anyone who has a computer. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I can save myself some talking."

    Among the items appearing on the site were documents from a transportation unit at Fort Eustis in Virginia. A Fort Eustis spokesperson contacted could not immediately comment.

    The issue of unmonitored file sharing has been a problem since the release of Gnutella, which allowed people to share the entire contents of their hard drives, rather than just MP3 files, as had been the case with Napster.

    Network watchers quickly noted that some people appeared to be sharing much more than they realized, including personal information and Web "cookie" files that sometimes included passwords for credit cards and e-commerce accounts.

    Critics of file-sharing companies, including the Recording Industry Association of America, have often pointed to this accidental sharing of personal information as a rationale for tighter regulation of the networks.

    Wallace told CNET that he first downloaded a zipped file of classified documents a few months ago on Gnutella, with stamped security clearances ranging from "For Official Use Only" to "Secret/NO FORN." (NOFORN typically stands for "not for release to foreign nationals" in military parlance.) The documents contained real-time information about operations in Iraq, "stuff that could kill people," he said.

    In an interview from Germany, where he lives with his wife, a U.S. Army officer, Wallace said he had contacted local military intelligence about the issue. They forwarded the information to a higher level, but there was little further response until he contacted the office of Sen. Conrad Burns, who represents Wallace's home state of Montana, Wallace said.

    Burns' office confirmed that the conversation had taken place.

    "We did send a letter to the secretary of the Army," Burns spokesman J.P. Donovan said. "We are monitoring this as it goes along."

    Shortly after Wallace got in contact with Burns' office, the file of classified documents disappeared from Gnutella. But many other potentially sensitive files remain on the sharing network, ranging from confidential military documents to internal information on public safety authorities procedures, Wallace said.

    "If you're a terrorist, imagine the damage you could do with that," Wallace said. "I don't really care if people share their love letters online. The only things I care about are when people share information that could hurt people."

    Wallace said he now calls agencies once before posting information on his blog but sees the site as a way to spotlight a problem that could cost lives in the future. He said he blacks out information that could be classified before posting a file.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member mungyun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    I used to use DC++, and I noticed that a lot of people were sharing things that I don't think they meant to. Letters to family, personal photos, etc. The one I thought was strangest was this user that, apparently backed up his/her microsoft money files to their shared folder. (hmm, where can I put these so that nobody can find them )

    So i'm sure that there is someone in the military that uses P2P, they don't know how to use it, and they are accidentally sharing certian documents and/or photos that they shouldn't. It seems stupid, but if the guy above was sharing his money backups, anyone unknowing person could.

    I also found this site a while back. It talks about similar things.,3973,9219,00.asp
    I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children’s children, because I don’t think children should be having sex. -- Jack Handey

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    it is almost scary how stupid people could be. i never figured that was even possible... maybe i was being too much of an optimist
    [gloworange]find / -name \"*your_base*\" -exec chown us:us {} \\;[/gloworange] [glowpurple]Trust No One[/glowpurple][shadow] Use Hardened Gentoo [/shadow]

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    And guess what i had to copy and then show private documents to my friend to prove he was accidentally sharing his complete hard drive on kazaa, but hey thanx only this article made me have a closer look at his shared data. :-)
    It\'s all about sense of power.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    In fact some versions of Kazaa use to "share" documents out of shared folder. I reproduced an experiment, creating a odd file name outsilde shared folder and bingo! : after a week or two the file started to appear on Kazaa search.
    I run p2p software on a pc that has nothing else but p2p software. Not even MS-OFFICE. And i use there NIS and Mcafee.
    But if a military can install p2p into a "security" military network and share files... man... they need to put some guys on AO to learn security basics
    Meu sítio

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