UK MoD “How to Stop Leaks” Document is Leaked!

security breachBeing a UK resident, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry with shame. Owing to ongoing security problems, the UK Ministry of Defence decided to write a report that gives MoD, armed forces, and intelligence personnel advice about information security and data theft. Unfortunately, the full 2,400-page restricted document has itself been leaked on to Wikileaks, a website that specializes in publishing secretive information about governments and other organizations.

The document, Joint Services Protocol 440 (JSP 440), was first published in 2001. Although relatively old, it is still referenced when MoD personnel need to justify the monitoring of websites or other online systems. The report singles out investigative journalists being as much as a threat to national security as more typical sources:

The main threats of this type are posed by investigative journalists, pressure groups, investigation agencies, criminal elements, disaffected staff, dishonest staff and computer hackers.

Investigative journalists have exploited personal tax information; they also target commercial and financial information as do criminal elements seeking financial advantage.

The report continues:

Leaks usually take the form of reports in the public media which appear to involve the unauthorized disclosure of official information (whether protectively marked or not) that causes political harm or embarrassment to either the UK Government or the Department concerned.

The consequences of leaks of official information are considered serious when they undermine government policy or cause embarrassment to the government.

Obviously, this story will cause futher embarrassment for the UK Government and the MoD in particular. It also raises a few awkward questions:

  1. Does the MoD really need to tell its staff that information leaks are a risk to UK security?
  2. Did it really require 2,400 pages to explain what leaks are? The report must have cost a fortune.
  3. Could staff realistically be expected to digest and retain all that information?

I’m sure this won’t be the last security breach, but it’s certainly one of the most ridiculous.

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • lishyguy

    Good to know that the government is developing its plans for stopping leaks ;). Although in fairness it isn’t the most top secret paper in the world.

  • http://coronatus.com/ cts91

    As someone with a very short patience, I could never be a spy. I would have ripped that document up and rewrote it in < 10 pages… then got fired.

  • Christopher

    Evidently whoever commissioned this leak-plugging document doesn’t care about the UK budget (and how it’s already haemmorhaging money faster than a leaky sieve :( 2,400 pages of what can only be described as Information Leaks for Dummies must’ve cost the MoD an absolute fortune!

  • nachenko

    Again and again I see situations like this in the news. Good old institutions that simply don’t get how things work now. They make fat reports, hire extremely expensive assesment services of a very big company full of dudes in suits, and put online stuff, then appear in the news, very serious, saying “the government has made an effort to offer a safe and wagga wagga…”, then it gets hijacked in a week.

    We’re being governed by fat cheeks that simply DON’T GET IT.

  • http://www.brothercake.com/ brothercake

    Everybody knows that 99% of leaks are deliberate. How to stop leaks? Don’t publish anything!