Critical breach of US air force communications results in damage to the Pentagon according to a report.
The Pentagon is investigating a “critical compromise” of communications across 17 US air force facilities, according to reports.
The US department of defense’s investigation comes amid a tip from a base contractor that a 48-year-old engineer at the Arnold air force base in Tennessee had taken home various government radio technologies, Forbes first reported Friday.
According to a search warrant obtained by investigators and reviewed by Forbes, the equipment allegedly taken by the engineer cost nearly $90,000. It also added that when law enforcement agents searched his home, they found that he had “unauthorized administrator access” to radio communication technology used by the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), which is one of the nine major commands of the air force and in turn affected 17 defense department installations.
Investigators also found an open computer screen that showed the engineer running a Motorola radio programming software. According to the warrant, the software “contained the entire Arnold air force base (AAFB) communications system,” Forbes reported. For More Information….
The outlet also reported that,
according to the warrant, a document detailing the forensics on technologies seized from the engineer’s home revealed that he had a USB which contained “administrative passwords and electronic system keys” for the AETC radio network.
Other items seized included flash drives that contained “local law enforcement radio programming files” and “Motorola radio programming files” which presented a warning banner that indicated they were government property.
Installer files which were recovered in the search opened with a “CONFIDENTIAL RESTRICTED” pop-up, according to Forbes.
The warrant also recounted how witnesses and co-workers informed investigators that the engineer had allegedly “sold radios and radio equipment, worked odd hours, was arrogant, frequently lied, displayed inappropriate workplace behavior and sexual harassment, had financial problems, and possessed [Arnold air force base land mobile radio] equipment”.
It added that a colleague had reported him twice due to “insider threat indicators” as well as unauthorized possession of air force equipment, according to investigators.
Investigators also reported to have found evidence which indicated that the searched contractor had possible access to FBI communications, as well as Tennessee state agencies, Forbes reported. According to the publication the FBI and the air force are also contributing to the inquiry.
Forbes has not yet disclosed the engineer’s name as he has not been charged. However, the outlet reported that according to his LinkedIn page, the engineer has an extensive history in cybersecurity and radio communications.
“He claims to have carried out numerous tests of the Arnold air force base’s security, improved protection of radio communications on the site and had knowledge of the encryption used on government data,” Forbes reported.
The Forbes report comes only three months after one of the worst leaks in US intelligence in over a decade. In that case 21 year old Jack Teixeira an air national guardsman at the time was arrested on suspicion of leaking hundreds of Pentagon documents.