Monday, June 22, 2009

UBC Journalism Students Find Sensitive U.S. Homeland Security Data in Ghana

Via the University of British Columbia.

A team of UBC journalism students investigating e-waste in three countries for an international reporting course uncovered a previously unknown US security breach in a country listed as one of the top 10 sources of cybercrime globally.

The students purchased hard drives in an open-air market in Ghana for $40 (Cdn) that turned out to contain sensitive information about multimillion-dollar defence contracts between the Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security and Northrop Grumman, one of the largest military contractors in the U.S.

“We had the drives analysed after leaving Ghana and were surprised at what we found,” says UBC Associate Professor Peter Klein, an Emmy Award-winning former 60 Minutes producer, who teaches the course. Ghana is listed by the US State Department as one of the top sources of cybercrime worldwide.

According to the students’ investigation, the FBI is concerned that companies such as Northrop Grumman may believe that their drives are wiped clean by software before being recycled. Northrop Grumman has acknowledged it is looking into how its hardware and data ended up in Ghana.

More here.

Props: Dissent


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