A Pennsylvania security
company reportedly uncovered a breach through peer-to-peer file sharing of
sensitive information related the design plans, cost and avionics of President
Barack Obama’s helicopter.
According to report broadcast by WPXI in Pittsburgh,
security firm Tiversa uncovered a breach in which files related to the
president’s helicopter fleet were disclosed by a government defense contractor
in Maryland to a computer with an
IP address in Tehran, Iran.
"What appears to be a defense contractor in Bethesda,
Md., had a file sharing program on one of
their systems that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine
One," Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, told
Tiversa, an ISV that provides secure data
transfer services and security applications for peer-to-peer data exchanges,
has informed government authorities of the breach, and an investigation is
reportedly under way.
In addition to the blueprints and avionics package information, the breached
data included costs for building and maintaining the helicopter used by the
White House to ferry the president to Andrews Air Force Base, Camp
David in the Maryland Mountains
and other locations around Washington, D.C.
"We found where this information came from," Retired Air Force
Gen. Wesley Clark, an adviser to Tiversa, said in the WPXI report. "We
know exactly what computer it came from. I’m sure that person is embarrassed
and may even lose their job, but we know where it came from and we know where
Marine One is the designation and call sign for the military helicopter when
the president is on board. The White House fleet actually has nearly two dozen
VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters flown by a U.S. Marine Corps air wing. The
helicopter fleet is due for replacement with the VH-71 Kestrel at a cost of
nearly $12 billion. The replacement program has come under sharp criticism by
congressional leaders because of the cost.
According to published reports, Tiversa believes the breach happened when
the defense contractor downloaded a file sharing application, such as those
used for sharing music, and unwittingly opened his computer for sharing all
files with the general public.
"When downloading one of these file sharing programs, you are
effectively allowing others around the world to access your hard drive,"
Tiversa told WPXI that it’s discovered that several foreign elements—including
parties in China,
Pakistan and Yemen—are
using P2P networks and file sharing attacks to gain access to sensitive
Calls by Channel Insider to Tiversa and the White House for comment were not