Vulnerabilities / Threats // Insider Threats
4/15/2010
02:44 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Former NSA Official Leaked Secrets Via Hushmail

The indictment returned in Maryland on Thursday suggests how easy it is to copy and paste secrets.

A former high-ranking National Security Agency (NSA) official was indicted on Thursday for retaining classified information, obstruction of justice, and making false statements, the Department of Justice said.

Thomas A. Drake, 52, worked as an NSA contractor from 1991 through about 2001, at which point he was hired by the agency as an employee, the indictment says. His security clearance was withdrawn around November 2007 and he resigned from the agency in April 2008.

The indictment alleges that in late 2005 or early 2006, Drake signed up for an account with Hushmail, which provides encrypted e-mail for secure online communication, and contacted a reporter for a national newspaper.

The reporter also signed up for Hushmail and the two allegedly proceeded to exchange information about secret government documents.

As a result of this collaboration, the reporter published a series of reports about the NSA that contained Signals Intelligence information, which involves the collection and analysis of foreign communications. Much of this work at the NSA is classified.

The indictment states that Drake "researched future stories [on behalf of the reporter] by e-mailing unwitting NSA employees and accessing classified and unclassified documents on classified NSA networks" and that he "copied and pasted classified and unclassified information from NSA documents into an untitled Word document, which, when printed, removed the classification markings," among other violations of the law.

Drake is alleged to have brought classified and unclassified documents home, scanned them, and e-mailed them without authorization.

"As alleged, this defendant used a secret, non-government e-mail account to transmit classified and unclassified information that he was not authorized to possess or disclose," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, in a statement. "As if those allegations are not serious enough, he also allegedly later shredded documents and lied about his conduct to federal agents in order to obstruct their investigation."

Breuer said that such violation of the government's trust must be prosecuted vigorously.

The maximum penalties for the charges are: 10 years in prison for retention of classified documents, 20 years in prison for obstruction of justice, and five years in prison for making false statements. Each of the ten charged counts carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The Changing Face of Identity Management
Mobility and cloud services are altering the concept of user identity. Here are some ways to keep up.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio

The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.