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US military internal emails leaked, server left exposed for two weeks

A U.S. Department of Defense server was left exposed for the past two weeks, allowing internal emails to be accessed, a senior U.S. defense official has confirmed according to online newspaper TechCrunch.

The leak came about following a misconfiguration with a Department of Defense server hosted on Microsoft Azure’s government cloud. The error enabled the server to be accessed without a password, according to TechCrunch, which reported that simply knowing the server’s IP address would have been sufficient to access mailbox data.

The server contained approximately three terabytes of military emails, many of which related to U.S. Special Operations Command, a military unit responsible for special operations.

The emails inside the server appear to date years back and contain personal information, according to TechCrunch.

One of the files left exposed included a completed SF-86 questionnaire, which is a form filled out by government employees attempting to obtain a security clearance. The form contains information such as the applicant’s Social Security number, and address, as well as personal information of people that the applicant knows well.

However, none of the data hosted on the exposed server appears to be classified, TechCrunch’s report revealed.

The exposed server was secured on Monday afternoon, about a day after TechCrunch contacted the Pentagon, the report stated.

“We can confirm at this point, no one hacked U.S. Special Operations Command’s information systems,” U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw told TechCrunch.

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