Report: WikiLeaks source exploited security flaw

A State Department program lacked a feature that might have alerted officials to the unauthorized download of diplomatic cables.

Poor information security in an obscure State Department computer system made it possible for an inside source to turn over a massive cache of secret and sensitive diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.

The Net-Centric Diplomacy initiative, which had become a storehouse of diplomatic cables, lacked the ability to detect that someone was downloading data without authorization, according to a report by the Washington Post.

“U.S. officials and security analysts describe the leak as a cautionary tale, one that underscores flaws in security for secret government data while also exposing a downside to the U.S. government's enthusiastic embrace of information-sharing in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,” writes Joby Warrick at the Post.

About the Author

John Monroe is Senior Events Editor for the 1105 Public Sector Media Group, where he is responsible for overseeing the development of content for print and online content, as well as events. John has more than 20 years of experience covering the information technology field. Most recently he served as Editor-in-Chief of Federal Computer Week. Previously, he served as editor of three sister publications: civic.com, which covered the state and local government IT market, Government Health IT, and Defense Systems.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.