Researchers at the German cybersecurity firm G Data came across a curious discovery at the very least: a computer with confidential information from the German army on eBay for 90 euros. With about 5 kg, a 128 MB memory and a Pentium III processor, the armored computer still works, using Windows 2000 as its operating system.
According to the experts who bought it, the hard drive contained information on how to defeat a LeFlaSys Ozelot, a defense vehicle against air attacks still used today by the German army, which can be equipped with anti-aircraft missiles. The robustness of the equipment and the type of information it contained made the researchers understand that it was a computer for use in a combat scenario.
To have access to all the information, G Data specialists did not need to use sophisticated decryption software. The system was protected by a password that still appears in the worst password lists: simply guest.
The data inside the computer was subject to the lowest level of confidentiality, and if it fell into the wrong hands, it could have some serious consequences. Experts clarify that we are dealing with a case in which those responsible for the German army forgot to do a thorough cleaning before sending the computer to the trash.
In response, an official source at the German Defense Ministry told the newspaper Der Spiegel that all old computers used to operate vehicles such as LeFlaSys Ozelot were decommissioned and sent to recycling with orders to eliminate all content on the hard drives. We can assume that what happened was an error in the computer recycling process, he told the German newspaper.