Tuesday, June 2, 2009

RAF Data Breach: Career Crash and Burn?

The Royal Air Force has a new motto: We Have Met The Enemy, and They Are Us!

Three RAF hard drives that were unencrypted have gone missing. That's always bad news.

What makes this even more newsworthy is the data alleged to be on those drives - voice recordings of high-ranking officers being interviewed for security clearances.

For those of you who have never experienced the special joy that is the clearance process, one of the primary components is the requirement to confess to all of your sins and transgressions, the theory being that it's much harder for foreign intel services to blackmail you later if your own agency already has an inventory of the skeletons in your closet.

So imagine that you spill your guts during the interview process, your deepest secrets are duly recorded, and then those recordings somehow disappear.

That would make me very, very grumpy.

Rather than serving their intended purpose - to keep the blackmail risk to a minimum - the breach of these recordings may actually place the careers of those interviewed in jeopardy, as the sensitive data on the drives could be used to either place pressure on these senior officers (do what we want, or we'll release some of these tidbits publicly to tarnish your reputation), or cause the resignation of a segment of the officer corps that preventatively wishes to keep their secrets...well....secret.

Nice work, RAF. You inspire trust and confidence daily.

Data Breach Exposes RAF Staff to Blackmail , via Wired

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