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Security Breach in IDF System Exposes “Top Secret” Documents

A security breach in the computer system of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has allowed common soldiers to reach highly confidential documents, according to a reserve officer's information to Haaretz. The site published this on July 26, 2007.

A doctor in the Defense Forces, Captain Amos Kahan, was first to discover the breach when he was on duty as a reserve officer in 2006. Kahan had put a search request, "top secret" on Tzahal-Net, which is an internal computer network that IDF maintains and computers of almost every IDF office are connected to it.

The search results provided Kahan access to a number of documents categorized as "top secret". They contained information on weaponries, strategic plans to defend the different sectors of the country, and the army's successive annual plans.

In June last year, Kahan sent letter informing his discovery to both the information security department and the communications department. Even after this reporting, later when Kahan was on another duty, he found that the severe security hole was still unplugged.

In his letter, Kahan pointed out two aspects of the problem. First, documents classified as "top secret" should not be kept on the network and secondly, there were no filters on the network to prevent unauthorized access to those files.

In response to his letter, Kahan only received an oral communication instead of a written one. The department told him that the army knew about the breach. Further, the information security department unfailingly punished those who posted highly confidential files on the network by withdrawing the Tzahal-Net sites for certain period of time.

During the fourth week of July 2007, when Kahan was on another reserve duty, he found everything unchanged. Once again when he searched "top secrets", he came up with top-secret documents. These now included emergency deployment plans of one territorial brigade. This time too, Kahan reported to the senior General Staff officers as well as to Haaretz.

After the new complaint, an IDF spokesman said the army was not aware of the complaint Kahan made in 2006. However, they passed Kahan's recent complaint that he reported in July 2007 to the concerned parties.

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