Sensitive US military emails were reportedly sent to Mali, How?
Due to a typing error, millions of highly private US military emails were sent to Mali. Given that Mali is a close ally of Russia, the stolen emails could pose a serious threat to the US. Due to a conflict between Mali’s and the US Military’s domain names, the emails were sent in the wrong direction. Mali uses the ‘.ml’ domain as the country identifier, whereas the US military uses the.mil suffix for its emails.
The Financial Times reported that Dutch internet entrepreneur Johannes Zuurbier, who oversees the domain for Mali, was the one who initially brought attention to the problem. To get the US to take the situation seriously, Zuurbier has repeatedly spoken with high-ranking officials, including the White House, the US national cyber security service’s senior adviser, and the defense attaché in Mali.
According to the Financial Times article, Zuubier has been gathering misdirected emails since January and has 1,17,000 messages total, with nearly 1,000 messages being gathered last Wednesday.
“Risk is real,” a stern warning to US military personnel.
“This risk is genuine and could be abused by US adversaries.” According to FT, Zuubier wrote a letter to US authorities.
Senior Pentagon officials claim they are aware of the problem and are treating it seriously in the interim. Lt. Commander Tim Gorman, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, told Financial Times that the Department of Defence is aware of this problem and takes seriously any unauthorized release of controlled national security information or controlled unclassified information.
Every email sent to Malian addresses, according to Gorman, “is blocked before it leaves the.mil domain and the sender is informed that they must validate the email addresses of the intended recipients.”
He added that while the use of personal email accounts for official business cannot be prevented technically, DoD personnel are receiving the necessary instruction and guidance.