Contaminated Flash Drive Wreaks Havoc on Pentagon PCs

Like something straight out of a Hollywood action movie, foreign spies managed to swipe sensitive information from the Pentagon by plugging a dirty flash drive into a U.S. military laptop, according to reports. This actually happened some two years ago, but is just now coming to light now that it's been de-classified by Uncle Sam.

"It was a network administrator's worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary," Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn wrote in an article for Foreign Affairs. "This ... was the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever and it served as an important wake-up call."

Flash grenade...get it?

While the incident itself is no longer classified, no one is willing to divulge what military secrets might have been stolen from "the most significant breach" ever. However, it was enough for the Defense Department to warrant the ban of all small, high-tech, removable storage devices, including USB thumb drives and media cards, which was only just partially lifted earlier this year.

In the article. Lynn goes on to warn that this remains an ongoing threat.

"A dozen determined computer programmers can, if they find a vulnerability to exploit, threaten the United States' global logistics network, steal its operational plans, blind its intelligence capabilities, or hinder its ability to deliver weapons on target," Lynn wrote.

Sleep tight, America.