This week, Heathrow Airport security were thrown into disarray after an unemployed man in London discovered a mysterious USB stick on the street, containing Heathrow security plans and details on the Queen’s travel plans. In all, the files took up 2.5GB of space and all of it was left unencrypted.
The man who discovered the USB drive discovered its contents after plugging it into a PC in a public library. After discovering what the 76 folders contained, he turned the drive over to a reporter at the Sunday Mirror, who then broke the story. The files on the drive included maps of every CCTV camera at the airport, routes and security protection measures for the Queen, Cabinet ministers and foreign dignitaries visiting London.
Other documents included anti-terrorism patrol timetables and documentation for the ultrasound system used at Heathrow to check perimeter fences and runways for breaches. Needless to say, the fact that these files got out onto the street is a huge security misstep.
Sources speaking with the Sunday Mirror explained that Heathrow security is probing the issue and is working on figuring out whether these files for leaked intentionally, or if this was the result of “incompetent” data handling. A spokesperson for the airport issued a more formal statement too, saying:
“Heathrow's top priority is the safety and security of our passengers and colleagues. The UK and Heathrow have some of the most robust aviation security measures in the world and we remain vigilant to evolving threats by updating our procedures on a daily basis. We have reviewed all of our security plans and are confident that Heathrow remains secure.”
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KitGuru Says: The fact that these files made their way out of the building is a massive breach in and of itself. I imagine Heathrow security will be cracking down a bit after this incident in particular.