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NSA leak exposes Red Disk, the Army's failed intelligence system

Published: December 2, 2017
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Source: zdnet

The contents of a highly sensitive hard drive belonging to a division of the National Security Agency have been left online.

The virtual disk image contains over 100 gigabytes of data from an Army intelligence project, codenamed "Red Disk." The disk image belongs to the US Army's Intelligence and Security Command, known as INSCOM, a division of both the Army and the NSA.

The disk image was left on an unlisted but public Amazon Web Services storage server, without a password, open for anyone to download. Unprotected storage buckets have become a recurring theme in recent data leaks and exposures. In the past year alone, Accenture, Verizon, and Viacom, and several government departments, were all dinged by unsecured data.

Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at security firm UpGuard, found the data and informed the government of the breach in October. The storage server was subsequently secured, though its owner remains unknown.

The leak marks yet another exposure of classified government data. Since the Edward Snowden disclosures in 2013, the agency made headlines last year when Harold Martin, an NSA contractor, was indicted for removing terabytes of secret data from the agency's headquarters. Another contractor, Reality Winner, was indicted this year for leaking classified secrets to news site The Intercept.

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