Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pennsylvania Company Discovers Marine One Security Breach

Via WXPI (Pittsburgh) -

Target 11 has learned a Cranberry company that monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing networks discovered what it said is a potentially serious security breach involving President Barack Obama’s helicopter.

Tiversa employees found engineering and communications information about Marine One at an IP address in Tehran, Iran.

Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, said, ”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.

Boback said someone from the company most likely downloaded a file-sharing program, typically used to exchange music, not realizing the potential problems.

"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, "We found where this information came from. We know exactly what computer it 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 notified the government immediately and said appropriate steps are being taken.

“They are working through a process to maintain the security of the president,” Boback said.

Iran is not the only country that appears to be accessing this type of information through file-sharing programs.

“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 said he doesn't know how sensitive this information is, but he said other military information has been found on the Internet in the past.

He said this needs to be monitored more closely and Rep. Jason Altmire agreed. He said, "Well, I'm very troubled to hear this because there are obviously elements in Iran that are not friendly to the United States and it would be an understatement to say that this type of information could be very detrimental were it to fall into the wrong hands."

Altmire said he will ask Congress to investigate how to prevent this from happening again.

Clark said, “Once it's out there, it's hard to get it back. I don't think the full ramifications of this have been understood by the watchdog agencies.”

Target 11 investigator Rick Earle called the White House Press Office and the Pentagon and left messages for a comment on this story, so far Earle has not gotten any response.

Tiversa was founded in 2004 by Robert Boback and Sam Hopkins, both Pittsburgh natives.

Boback is a Norwin High School graduate and got his college degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Co-founder Hopkins is a Peabody High graduate and started Nauticom and went on to work for Fiore Systems and the Marconi Company.

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