Top-secret data on an advanced US military system was leaked because Japanese officers were swapping porn files at work, a newspaper said Thursday.
Japan is questioning a naval officer on charges he obtained confidential data on the US-developed Aegis combat system, the defence ministry said Wednesday.
But the Yomiuri Shimbun said the data was leaked when the petty officer second class had copied pornographic images -- accompanied by the sensitive files -- from a colleague's computer and circulated them to a third officer.
Police suspect senior officials might have been involved in the porn swapping as the 33-year-old officer being questioned would not have had access to the classified data, the newspaper said.
The petty officer said he did not know that the pornographic images were accompanied by sensitive information, the Japanese daily said, quoting Kanagawa prefectural police.
The defence news site added this bit of information:
The data found on the sailor's computer included formulas for the Aegis interceptor system and data on its radar's capacity to track several targets at once, the Yomiuri said.
Other news reports said the issue came to light after the petty officer's Chinese wife was arrested in late January for a visa violation, alarming the U.S. military.
And a more detailed explanation from the Yomiuri's English language news site
Top-secret data on Aegis destroyers obtained by a Maritime Self-Defence Force petty officer 2nd class were found to have been obtained after he copied obscene images to his hard disk from a colleague's computer, without knowing the information contained the secret data, police sources said Wednesday.
The Kanagawa prefectural police also found the secret information was leaked to another petty officer, meaning the case now involves three petty officers, including the 33-year-old 2nd class petty officer, who is a crew member of the destroyer Shirane of Escort Flotilla 1.
Hard disks and computers of each officer were found to have contained obscene images along with the secret information, the police said.
The police believe that repetitive exchanges of such images triggered the spread of the secret information.
According to the investigators, the data about Aegis destroyers found on the 2nd class petty officer's hard disk were copied from the computer of a crew member of another destroyer. However, further investigation revealed that another petty officer also copied data that included information about Aegis ships.
The 2nd class petty officer reportedly told the police that the obscene images accidentally came with secret data on the ships when he was copying the images to his computer. He said he found out about the secret data later.
This bit came from the Japan Times:
The paper also said the Chinese wife had been arrested three years ago for theft and deported in February 2004. But she sneaked back into Japan and got a job at an eatery in Yokohama's Chinatown, where she met the noncom. They married last October. Investigators are trying to learn more about her.
All of which leads to simple question: what technology was involved and how did this happen?
Did somebody just copy a whole bunch of stuff to a USB drive that was passed around? do an ftp -i; mget *? fall victim to desktop, word, or outlook corruption? download a virus from a porn site - one that stole documents? I couldn't find a single news story that even mentioned what kind of computers these guys used or what the OS was - never mind details about the technology mistakes that led to the copying.
So: speculations please? Is there an OS/SW combination in which this kind of thing could happen purely by accident/carelessness? and, if so, what is it and how would the accident work?