back to article Nato secrets USB stick lost in Swedish library

The discovery of a USB memory stick containing classified NATO information in a library in Stockholm has prompted a meeting between the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service and foreign defence officials. The Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service is a division of the Swedish Armed Forces Central …


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  1. Owen Carter
    Paris Hilton

    Not just the UK Govt then

    Good to see our fellow EU/NATO homeboiz are as equally as adept as losing important things as good old HM UK Government! I wouldnt mind having a peek at said NATO secrets! I really dont know why you'd hand such an item in....

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Your mission, Jim ......

    "Some can even self-destruct (internally) and erase everything on the drive using technology that physically overwrites every byte, making the data entirely unrecoverable. "

    Obviously there should be a puff of white smoke to go with it :)

    PS Article doesn't say which country the stick belonged to

  3. oxo
    Dead Vulture


    "military-grade AES hardware-based encryption"

    As opposed to the other sort? No, wait, AES is a standard, so it's the same everywhere.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Jumping on the bandwagon...

    2008: the year of the "Oops! I've lost all your secret/personal data, silly me!" news headline. And the UK still leads the way in Europe (nay they world?) by a rather large margin.

  5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Poor sod who found it.

    "I really don't know why you'd hand such an item in."

    Indeed not. On the one hand, all good citizens should feel it is their duty to alert their government to such mistakes. On the other hand, they just know that they will never be able to prove that they didn't snarf a copy before handing it in and so doing the Right Thing will almost certainly mean they spend the rest of the lives on the Terror Watchlist.

  6. Ian Ferguson

    Media problems

    The data-loss problem that governments/businesses are currently experiencing can entirely be attributed to the small size of data media nowadays. A single USB stick or DVD can hold massive databases of customer information, credit card numbers, or classified secrets; and can be placed within a coat pocket, glove box, library book, down the back of the sofa, anywhere likely to be forgotten.

    That's where my solution comes in. I will soon be launching my range of unlosable(tm) memory sticks. Each stick contains 16gb of data (more than enough for NATO troop movement maps, adult product customers' credit card details, taxpayer's intimate details) and is embedded within a 150kg block of granite, embossed with your country's flag or logo of your choice. The block is painted flourescent green and a flashing light and klaxon are activated when data is first written to the stick. There are also attachments for optional handcuffs, for permanent connection with the junior civil servant / delivery boy of your choice.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the plus side

    At least it's cheaper than losing the whole laptop...

  8. Kevin Johnston

    @Ian Ferguson

    Does it have a GPS tracker and a motion sensitive/contact switch activated fisheye lens cameras to see who interfering with it?

  9. Phil Endecott

    Bogus self-destruction

    > Some can even self-destruct

    The last that I heard about "self-destructing" flash drives was some rather negative coverage:

    Perhaps there are drives out there that are secure, but I would personally prefer to use a regular drive and encryption software on the PC.

  10. paulc

    old-style "security"

    I'd propose doing what we do with important key bunches... attach whopping great big day-glo tags to them so that they can't be pocketed and stand out like a sore thumb when set down anywhere... that way, you can't accidentally take them home in your pocket...

  11. jeffrey


    I didn't know HMRC been contracted out to lose nato/swedish data as well.

    I'll get my long brown coat (and go sit on a bench muttering "red squirrel looks east in October")

  12. Dv
    Jobs Horns

    ,,,,embedded within a 150kg block of granite..

    I think God still has the patent on the block of granite idea...

  13. Nick Kew
    Black Helicopters

    @ken hagan ...

    How to hand it in?

    Make your own copy of it, then post it anonymously to [journalist|embassy] of your choice.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Even more important question...

    Why the hell did the original, unknown, user put classified NATO data on a memory stick in the first place? Jesus-tap-dancing-Christ, didn't anyone involved with setting up what must be a fairly complex NATO defense network ever stop to think about allowing users to make copies on removable media?

    I mean, there are literally thousands of different ways to make secure dumb terminals, encrypted transfers, multi-token authentication, etc, etc, etc. Does NATO not have a single competent BOFH?

    Hell, do they accept unsolicited resumes for high ranking positions? I could do better. Or, at least fake it better, which is basically the same thing.

  15. J


    The keys to the dark room and centrifuge room in my old department were tied to 2 liter plastic bottles (empty, of course), so no idio... I mean student would stick it in the pocket, forget about it, take it home, lose it... Maybe 2 liter PET bottle should be made into military grade stuff too?

  16. Joe Stalin

    @Even more important question

    Did anyone else mis-read that as Lap Dancing, or is it just reflection on me.

    Have you a long one in asbestos, I think I going somewhere hot for eternity

  17. Martin Beckett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    re Unlosable...

    You could have just attached the keys directly to the student. Then not only would you be able find them ( if time<11:00am = bed else = bar )

    but with a bit of training you could make them come to you when you whistle, like those key rings that beep when you lose them.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if

    since they generally have internet connected computers in libraries if someone hadn't just downloaded the lot and stuck it on a usb stick and then forgot to take it with them. I think that makes it more interesting than just a lost usb fob.

  19. tony trolle
    IT Angle

    still get lost....

    Beancounters said we used up too many pens at our media library. So on instruction from managers I taped and glued a length of small link chain to a pen leading to a lump of wood and yes still got lost. Started to glue them inside a 3 foot length of bamboo thinking pockets are not that deep; worked for a while untill someone thought they were 'cool' .........The epoxy glue cost more than a box of cheap pens.

    Then finally a 'old' PC and printer were used to print out media library request slips details which were typed in another system when media was handed over.

  20. Michael Shimniok

    I love it...

    "It is unclear how the USB stick ended up in the library."

    But, so long as all these USB sticks holding classified military secrets don't end up in anymore libraries, we should be just peachy.

    Can we go back to paper and typewriters now?

  21. Steve

    Secret information on a USB Flash disk?

    To be honest, I hope the guy gets thrown out of their job and banged up for this one.

    Its pretty bleeding obvious you shouldn't be putting NATO Secret data onto a flash drive...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    I'd be more intrigued as to what NATO secrets are doing waltzing around in a neutral country.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When I did a contract job at bank of America they would not let us walk out with pen and paper for security reasons. Didn't say a damn thing about our PDA's or my colleagues that had thumb drives on their key rings..

  24. nick

    Flash drive's contents posted to a blog

    Marked "TOP SECRET"

    "It would appear the Warsaw Pact disbanded nearly twenty years ago. Anyone know why we still have monthly roundtable meetings, or is that answer Above Top Secret?"

  25. Mark SPLINTER
    Jobs Halo

    Gun drives

    give them top secret flash drives in the shape of a gun to make it more obvious how they should be treated.

  26. Spleen

    Anyone else reminded...

    ...of the Armstrong and Miller sketches where the Prime Minister (or someone) walks out of an official meeting, leaves a horrifically important document/treaty/wife behind him, and after dithering, refuses to go back for it because of the embarrassment of re-entering the room?

    Can see it happening.

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