• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Afghan Merchants Sell Stolen Military Computer Hardware

Apr 13, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

The U.S. military is attempting to crack down on the sale of its computer equipment that is being sold at bazaars near a base in Bagram, Afghanistan, MSNBC reports.

Armed U.S. soldiers searched several shops outside the large base on Wednesday, two days after the Los Angeles Times first reported the sale of the stolen goods, according to MSNBC.

But even after the crackdown, the Times reported that merchants were still selling stolen equipment—including a flash memory drive that holds the names, photos and phone numbers of people who were described as Afghan spies working for the military, MSNBC reports.

Others were selling memory drives that contained sensitive information such as the Social Security numbers of four American generals, according to MSNBC.

It is believed that Afghans who work at the Bagram base as cleaners and office staff can easily steal the finger-sized flash drives despite being searched as they enter and exit the premises, according to MSNBC.

One shopkeeper, who said he was selling the hardware only for the money and wasn’t interested in the data, allowed about 15 of the drives to be reviewed by an Associated Press reporter on a laptop computer, MSNBC reports. Four of them contained information, but the rest were either blank or didn’t work at all, MSNBC reports.

The stolen computer files contained both personal and confidential personnel data, according to MSNBC. The U.S. military has ordered an investigation of the thefts and a review of policies and procedures regarding the accountability of its computer equipment, MSNBC reports.

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