A company that monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing networks has discovered a potentially serious security breach involving President Barack Obama’s helicopter, NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh reported Saturday.
Employees of Tiversa, a Cranberry Township, Pa.-based security company that specializes in peer-to-peer technology, reportedly found engineering and communications information about Marine One at an IP address in Tehran, Iran.
Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, told WPXI-TV: “We found a file containing entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One, which is the president’s helicopter.”
The company was able to trace the file back to its original source.
“What appears to be a defense contractor in Bethesda, Md., had a file-sharing program on one of their systems that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One,” Boback said.
Tiversa also found sensitive financial information about the cost of the helicopter on that same computer, WPXI-TV reported.
Someone from the company most likely downloaded a file-sharing program, typically used to exchange music, not realizing the potential problems, Boback said.
“When downloading one of these file-sharing programs, you are effectively allowing others around the world to access your hard drive,” Boback said.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an adviser to Tiversa, said the company discovered exactly which computer the information came from. “I’m sure that person is embarrassed and may even lose their job, but we know where it came from and we know where it went.”
Boback said the government was notified immediately.
Iran is not the only country that appears to be accessing this type of information through file-sharing programs, Boback told the station.
“We’ve noticed it out of Pakistan, Yemen, Qatar and China. They are actively searching for information that is disclosed in this fashion because it is a great source of intelligence,” Boback said.
Clark told WPXI that he doesn’t know how sensitive this information is, but he said other military information has been found on the Internet in the past and should be monitored more closely.
Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., said he would ask Congress to investigate how to prevent this from happening again.
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