MoD leaks nuclear sub info on website

Darren Allan

April 17, 2011

The Ministry of Defence has dropped a major Internet clanger and accidentally revealed secret information on Britain’s nuclear submarines online.

The Daily Star spotted the classified report which had been published on the Parliament website, with the key details blacked out. However, the censorship method used was woeful to say the least.

In a blunder worthy of Homer Simpson himself, MoD staff simply blacked out the text, but left the actual letters in place.

Meaning that anyone who highlighted, then copied and pasted the text could read the top secret information. We expect that considerably more than “D’oh” was uttered when the faux-pas was discovered.

The newspaper didn’t state what was revealed, obviously, but did say the info contained revelations of exactly how much structural damage to a sub could trigger a core meltdown.

Apparently our nuclear subs aren’t nearly as secure as the US fleet, with their submarines allegedly being twice as safe. All comforting thoughts…

Graham Cluley, ever-present security guru of Sophos, told the Star: “It’s a staggeringly stupid thing to do. Anyone with even an elementary knowledge of computing would know how to read it. I can only assume they gave it to a junior member of staff to deal with.”

“If this document is like this, who knows what else is? It’s very sloppy security.”

America is unlikely to be pleased that some restricted information on its submarines has been spilled, too…


Comments in chronological order (4 comments)

  1. Brian Turner says:

    If only the same had been done on the MP expenses. :)

  2. Bob H says:

    I wouldn’t assume it was someone junior, many senior staff can’t operate a computer and a junior member of staff is less likely to make such a mistake.

  3. misceng says:

    As a retired civil servant and professional engineer I have for years been observing the reduction of the Civil Service by the removal of anyone with technical competence. This is just one of many examples of administrators with no knowledge making a mess of simple technical matters.

  4. David Knowles says:

    The US are unlikely to be please, but they are unlikely to make a big deal out of it, there own IT security is not exactly the envy of the world is it :)

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