Typo sends millions of US military emails into hands of Russian ally Mali
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5 months ago
FOR YEARS — U-S MILITARY EMAILS HAVE ENDED UP IN THE HANDS OF A RUSSIAN ALLY.
THIS MASSIVE PROBLEM — CAUSED BY A SIMPLE TYPO.
THE DOMAIN OF MILITARY EMAIL ACCOUNTS IS “DOT-M-I-L.”
HOWEVER — IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT MILLIONS OF EMAILS WERE MISTAKENLY SENT TO “DOT-M-L” ACCOUNTS.
THAT’S THE DOMAIN OF MALI — A WEST AFRICAN COUNTRY THAT IS ALLIED WITH RUSSIA.
SOME OF THE EMAILS CONTAINED SENSITIVE INFORMATION LIKE PASSWORDS — MEDICAL RECORDS — AND THE ITINERARIES OF TOP OFFICERS.
A DUTCH INTERNET ENTREPRENEUR IDENTIFIED THE PROBLEM MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO.
HE HAS HAD A CONTRACT TO MANAGE MALI’S “DOT-M-L” DOMAIN SINCE 20-13.
IN RECENT MONTHS — HE HAS COLLECTED THOUSANDS OF MISDIRECTED EMAILS.
NONE OF THEM WERE MARKED AS CLASSIFIED — BUT SOME OF THEM INCLUDED MEDICAL DATA — MAPS OF U-S MILITARY FACILITIES — FINANCIAL RECORDS — PLANNING DOCUMENTS FOR OFFICIAL TRIPS — AND DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES.
THE ENTREPRENEUR SENT A LETTER TO U-S OFFICIALS EARLIER THIS MONTH — WARNING THAT HIS CONTRACT WAS DUE TO FINISH SOON.
THE MALI GOVERNMENT TOOK OVER THE “DOT-M-L” DOMAIN YESTERDAY — THE SAME DAY THE WHITE HOUSE WAS ASKED WHAT IT WAS DOING TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE.
“I would first point you to our colleagues at the Department of Defense. This is really more for them to speak to, but as I understand it, they have now for quite some time, have in place a tool that that stops outbound emails that don’t have the .mil at the end from going.”