Misawa contractor information leaked over Internet
Information on Japanese contractors at Misawa Air Base, including more than 100 names, some vehicle information and base pass numbers, was leaked onto the Internet last week after a Japanese construction company contractor put the data on her home computer, Air Force officials said.
The information — from work reports and personnel lists used for base access — was leaked through file-sharing software called Winny that is widely used in Japan. No American information was included.
Any leak of information is cause for concern but “there is no known security threat to the base due to this compromise,” said Misawa spokesman Capt. J.P. Lage.
The employee, a civilian translator working for Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., brought home spreadsheets and contractor reports on a floppy disk and stored them on her computer, Lage said. The data was tapped through the Winny program already on her computer.
Since the computer was not a government asset and was located off base, the case is not within the jurisdiction of the Air Force, Navy and Japan Air Self-Defense Force, which all share the base at Misawa.
Japanese police, who do have jurisdiction in the case, are keeping Air Force and Navy security officials abreast of the investigation. Military officials have taken security measures as a result of the leak, Lage said.
Included among the leaked data were the names, subcontractor company names and personal information of 107 Japanese contractors, some base pass numbers and about 70 vehicle registration numbers.
The Mitsui company kept the data while it completes a renovation project on the base.
Some Japanese news reports indicated the data came from the base pass and identification office, which Lage said is untrue.
Base security officials are reminding Americans to be cautious when using any file-sharing software, including Winny, on their home computers. File-sharing programs are not generally authorized on government computers.
A virus that infects the Winny program is known to allow outside users to essentially break in and take information from an infected computer.
In February, classified data from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force was leaked in a similar way, according to news reports. Many business computers — and some police computers — have had breaches. In March, Yahoo Japan reported that more than 3,000 pieces of data were leaked from the company’s Japan shopping site through an employee’s computer using Winny.