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Espionage on Usenet?
(IDG) -- Now here's an interesting story that you would expect to find in a Tom Clancy novel: It seems a nine-page NATO memo detailing the rules of engagement for soldiers serving in Kosovo was made public, even though it was classified as "Top Secret." The story was printed in the April 2 issue of The Sunday Telegraph, a U.K. newspaper, and reported by the BBC.
There is some confusion on where the document appeared. The Telegraph story says it turned up in the e-mail of a London publishing company, which quickly reported the find to the proper authorities. Another version of the story said the ultrasecret memo was posted on Usenet groups. So, how does a top-secret memo get out into the public?
Seems as if a computer virus on a NATO computer leaked the information. There are some viruses on the loose that allegedly e-mail or post user names and passwords to provide the virus' author easy access to unsuspecting user's systems, but I've never heard of one posting entire files on the Internet.
But here comes the real twist: Some say the memo was posted to Usenet, but later deleted by Web crawlers developed by the Department of Defense that are designed to destroy controversial postings. Hmmm...a conspiracy in the making?
Two things to take away from this strange episode: 1. Make sure your antivirus detectors are up to date. No one wants their corporate secrets plastered all over the 'Net. 2. Does it worry anyone that the government could be trolling newsgroups and deleting postings it deems controversial? Isn't that censorship?
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