Secret Military Files Found On Used MP3 Player

Dennis Faas's picture

A 29-year-old New Zealand man reportedly got more than he bargained for when he bought an MP3 player from an Oklahoma thrift shop. When Chris Ogle hooked up his MP3 player to sync with his computer, he found 60 files containing military information including the names and personal details of American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq including: cellphone numbers, information that appeared to be from a mission briefing, details of military equipment deployed to the bases, and social security numbers. (Source:

Files found were marked with a warning saying the release of its content is "prohibited by federal law." (Source:

Most of the files date back to 2005 and are unlikely to compromise National Security -- but the information could put the individual soldiers at risk.

Not The First Time

This isn't the first time that military information has been compromised. In 2006, the BBC reported that stolen computer hardware containing files with military secrets was being sold at a market beside a U.S. base in Afghanistan. (Source:

Last November the U.S. Department of Defense banned the use of portable data storage devices. (Source:

The situation is also similar to John McCain's 2008 Presidential campaign when the candidate's BlackBerry was sold to a reporter with the old data still intact. (Source:

As noted by PC World, these issues highlight the bigger problem in keeping sensitive data secure. President Obama's Presidential campaign team experienced problems when hackers hijacked his campaign web site to lure unsuspecting visitors to download malware. Even Alaska Governor and Sarah Palin's Yahoo account was hacked during her Republican Vice-Presidential run with the McCain campaign. (Source:

It's not known how the data ended up on the used MP3 player, but Ogle handed it over to U.S. officials who agreed to swap his out for a new one. (Source:

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