Classified Info on Pentagon/NSA Program Leaked Online

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The program, led by U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, a division of the National Security Agency, was supposed to help the Pentagon get real-time information about what was happening on the ground in Afghanistan in 2013 by collecting data from U.S. computer systems on the ground, according to tech news site ZDNet. According to security researchers at UpGuard, who uncovered the breach, the Amazon S3 bucket that stored the sensitive data was left completely unprotected - without a password and open to be downloaded by anyone. According to the report, the unsecured storage server was discovered by Chris Vickery, the director of cyber risk research at UpGuard, on 27 September 2017.

More security slip-ups at the US National Security Agency. The exposed S3 bucket contained 47 "viewable" files, three of which were downloadable.

According to UpGuard, a virtual hard drive and Linux-based operating system were discovered on the leaky server, and though the researchers seemed unaware of its exact objective, the company speculated it may be used to remotely access Defence Department data. As UpGuard's report details, Vickery also found "a virtual hard drive used for communications within secure federal IT environments" and "details concerning the Defense Department's battlefield intelligence platform" known as DCGS-A and information on Red Disk, "a troubled Defense Department cloud intelligence platform" that integrates into Red Disk.

The drive in question contained a trove of data related to a U.S. military project codenamed "Red Disk", a failed cloud collaboration and content sharing platform created to let field troops access real-time intelligence data from the Pentagon, including satellite and drone imagery. These, if accessed by malicious hackers, "could be used to further access internal systems". The server contained more than 100 gigabytes of data from an Army intelligence project codenamed "Red Disk", ZDNet first reported.

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Top Secret US Army and NSA Files Left Exposed Online on Amazon S3 Server

Aside from information about Red Disk, the files included other classified information, including how the USA military can target possible terrorists with weapons. The system that the Army uses is stated to be the largest and that it struggles to scale with the demand. Red Disk, a $93 million program considered a military failure, was created to help the Pentagon with soldiers on the field collecting classified reports, drone footage and satellite images. ZDNet reported that Red Disk was never completely deployed and has since been considered a failure.

"Plainly put, the digital tools needed to potentially access the networks relied upon by multiple Pentagon intelligence agencies to disseminate information should not be something available to anybody entering a URL into a web browser", the post said. Last but not the least, Vickery reiterated that this exposure of data was "entirely avoidable" in the long list of government leaks reported past year.

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