Did WikiLeaks Use P2P to Collect Classified Data?

Did WikiLeaks Use P2P to Collect Classified Data?

Tiversa, company that provides “P2P Intelligence services,” reports a number of examples in which data posted on WikiLeaks was found to first have been exposed by govt employees using P2P programs on computers containing sensitive data.

For years we’ve heard reports of classified data inadvertently being available on P2P networks, and watched Congress hold hearing after hearing proclaiming the chances of a “cyber Pearl Harbor.

For the most part it was presumed that the data has been sought by criminals or spies, or so-called “bad actors,” but never did it seem possible that the data would be collected and leaked by people with good intentions.

According to Tiversa, a company that provides “P2P Intelligence services,” there is evidence that the infamous WikiLeaks whistleblower site may have used P2P services and programs to gather classified documents.

“WikiLeaks is doing searches themselves on file-sharing networks,” said its CEO, Robert Boback, in an interview with Bloomberg. “It would be highly unlikely that someone else from Sweden is issuing those same types of searches resulting in that same type of information.”

WikiLeaks says the claims are “completely false in every regard,” but Tiversa has compiled a rather damning list of coincidences.

Back in 2009 tiversa detected four Swedish computers searching for and downloading data on P2P networks. Those searches found a DoD computer in Hawaii sharing a .pdf survey file of the Pacific Missile Range Facility which it then downloaded. That file was then posted on WikiLeaks two months later.

“There are not that many whistleblowers in the world to get you millions of documents,” added Boback. “However, if you are getting them yourselves, that information is out there and available.”

Later that year WikiLeaks published a spreadsheet detailing potential terrorist targets in Fresno County, California. The document, which noted locations of caches of bomb-grade fertilizers, large gas and propane reserves, and other sensitive data, was later determined to have been shared by a California state employee using an unspecified P2P program.

Tiversa lists a number of examples in which data posted on WikiLeaks was found to first have been exposed by govt employees using P2P programs on computers containing sensitive data.

The news may be important for the Justice Dept as it presumably builds a case to indict founder Julian Espionage. Either way it does bring up the curious discussion about what makes a leak turn from bad to good or vice versa.

Stay tuned.

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