back to article WikiLeaks accused of tapping P2P for secret docs

As much as half of the secret documents posted by WikiLeaks may have been siphoned from peer-to-peer users who incorrectly configured their file-sharing software, according to evidence gathered by a security firm. Tiversa, a Pennsylvania company that in 2009 uncovered confidential blueprints of the US President's Marine One …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward

    The last sentence

    "But it seems just as plausible that someone not affiliated with WikiLeaks performed the P2P searches and anonymously provided the resulting documents to WikiLeaks. ®"

    It says it all and is more believable. The USA I would imagine is once again trying to link wikileaks to hacking groups.

    1. Far Canals


      They don't need to 'link' Wikileaks to 'hacking' groups. Assange is a convicted hacker, so there is a fairly obvious link there.

      OTOH, by the sounds, this isn't so much hacking as searching public / semi-public data. Hacking would be accessing non-public data. By inference, if people don't secure their data it is publically accessible.

      I think it's a pretty even playing field really, and you would expect the US (or any other) government to defend itself in any way legally possible. Wikileaks cant whinge about being exposed when their self-assigned role is to expose.

      1. blackworx

        @Far Canals

        To which Wikileaks might respond: but the government would subject us to exposure based on conjecture and hearsay, whereas we just expose stuff they want to keep secret and which we believe people have a right to know.

        And, as much as I dislike the whole Juilan Assange Show™, which has been a massive mistake on his part from start to finish, I'd still be inclined to agree with Wikileaks.

        Legal it may be, but it doesn't make it right. It's just smear.

        1. Far Canals


          I get the whole 'expose the stuff people need to know' angle, although to me it doesn't seem to be about that . Why? Because:

          1 - We don't need to know every itty bit of detail, but we do need to know about duplicity, corruption, deception, dishonesty et al.

          2 - So much of what it done seems to be driven by a vendetta rather than truly being what is in the public good

          3 - There is no public good in so many of the things released, such as diplomatic chatter, he said/she said - unless of course that's evidence of things in point 1 above

          4 - If it were truly about public good, there would be some editorial effort made, and details that could endanger lives etc would be redacted.

          A reporter who stumbled upon this information would check his or her sources, make a judgement call on the value of items, and ensure that the story got told without prejudice to the saftey and well being of others. This is what, IMO, Wikileaks needs to do to be seen as a serious service for the public good rather than a mischief maker.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @Far Canals

        "By inference, if people don't secure their data it is publically accessible."

        [publicly ]

        This is not true.

        People didn't secure their wi-fi networks. Does this mean that it was legal for Google to slurp data off the networks?

        The point is that no, it is not.

        It is against the law to war drive and to slurp data that you do not have *explicit* permission to access. So the same could be said of accessing a system that wasn't as locked down ans the owners thought...

        There is more to this... but over simplifying the argument doesn't make it true...

        1. blackworx

          @AC 21:54

          "People didn't secure their wi-fi networks. Does this mean that it was legal for Google to slurp data off the networks?"

          You're the on ethat's oversimplifying by comparing apples with laser-eyed rabid space monkeys.

          Not securing a home wi-fi network is ever so slightly different from running P2P software on a machine containing classified data AND setting it up to share that data (whether inadvertently or not).

        2. Scorchio!!
          Thumb Up

          Re: @Far Canals

          "People didn't secure their wi-fi networks. Does this mean that it was legal for Google to slurp data off the networks?

          The point is that no, it is not."

          The same applies to state owned networks that have been burgled by the likes of Assange, whose conviction in Australia for hacking Pentagon secrets was insufficient, ditto his lukewarm 'punishment'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If true, it means that it puts Assange once step closer to being in trouble in the US.

      It also means that wiki leaks is less about whistle blowing that they claim.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...So the documents were arguably public anyway? Wikileaks just acted as a massive digital photocopier.

    1. Tom 13

      Possibly. And frankly

      that troubles me even more. I expect the government to protect certain sensitive information, not put it out on P2P networks.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    "public networks"

    Umm... do Tiversa have any understanding at all of the internet? Either it's public or it isn't. If it is, then nobody is to blame other than those who made it public in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      This this this this this ^^^^^^

      1. Bilgepipe


        So everything on P2P networks has been released to the public and obtained by legal means?

        1. Tom 13

          No, but things like the statement

          "...was inadvertently indexed on P2P networks by a California state employee in August, 2008,..." make it a much more difficult case to make that Assange actually engaged in espionage. Of course, trolling P2P sites is a lot less sexy that sticking it to the man.

          And note from my posting record that I'm one of those people who thinks Assange needs to be removed from the public equation because he is responsible for getting people killed in Afghanistan.

  4. Daniel B.


    What were those documents doing on a P2P network to begin with? Seems like someone installed P2P clients in restricted PCs...

  5. Sir Runcible Spoon


    Why are they worried about Wikileaks if they've got arseholes out there with secret documents being leaked onto p2p networks?

    1. Tom 35

      The real question here is...

      Why is limeware or it's like on a company computer (and why could the user install it) or why are secret documents on a personal computer?

      I wonder how many documents ended up in China that never reached Wikileaks?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Playing devil's advocate

    Question: So what is the proof that the Swedish IPs in question are from Wikileaks and not Tor exits and zombies channeling requests from the usual suspects with a perennial interest in USA government documents?

    Answer: none

    Move along, nothing to see here besides that someone was trawling for USA government documents by means which are different from sponsoring the pretty boss daughter's lengthy English English language practice with all expenses paid.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      The point is that there were IP addresses trolling supposedly secured machines that had unsecured P2P software.

      Do you not think it important enough to identify the owners of the IP addresses to determine who did what and when?

      So your answer: "None" is a tad misleading and an irresponsible conclusion.

      Lets spin something else. Suppose that the P2P was set up by someone who had already hacked the machine as a way to gain access to documents if/when they lost their access? Yeah, that's far fetched. No hacker would ever install software that would give them access in case someone changed the root password or anything... ;-)

  7. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    Wow, think how glad organisations like the RIAA and the MPAA

    will be to learn that P2P is responsible not merely for music- and film downloads, but also leaks to Wikileaks ! But of course, this is not to suggest that they have anything at all to do with Tiversa or the fact that this fanciful tale is receiving widespread publicity. Pecuniam sequitur !...


  8. Graham Marsden

    So once again...

    ... it seems that TPTB in the USA are trying to make the story about Wikileaks and, once again, glossing over the *staggering* failures of their own security!

    Oh deary, deary me.

  9. g e

    To paraphrase the MAFIAA...

    "They were made available"

  10. url
    Black Helicopters

    p2p is one route i guess

    filetype:rtf | filetype:ppt | filetype:pptx | filetype:csv | filetype:xls | filetype:xlsx | filetype:docx | filetype:doc | filetype:pdf "this document is confidential" site:gov

  11. ratfox

    Yeah, right

    Sometimes, I have a hard time understanding how people can make some preposterous claims.

    I love how they state that the first documents were searched for by Swedish IPs, then do not make any such claim for the other documents.

    The first accusation logically implies that WikiLeaks owns the only computers in Sweden.

    The second accusation logically implies that WikiLeaks owns the only computers in the WORLD.

  12. Dennis Wilson


    Hold on a moment....

    If the 413 item test ran for 1 hour and they found a document of Pentagon's Pacific Missile Range Facility, well they were very, very, very, very fortunate indeed.

    If on the other hands they say they found the same document with a different name on another user’s computer, all within a 1 hour 413 item search then they are very, very, very, very bad liars.

    There is also the question of how did they know it was obtained by Wikileaks a year before Wikileaks went public with it if it was, as they claim, burgled from a computer .

    The claim is a hoax; the sums are so mind bogglingly remote that it was not possible without good old honest Uncle Sam type intervention.

    As this claim comes from Sweden I suggest it be treated with the same weight as their badly and publicly corrupted legal system.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stealing via P2P

    And what's wrong with Wikileaks doing that? Governments steal my secret P2P documents, as do corporations, and government does nothing about that, so I say turn about is fair play.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I could believe that Limewire might be a good source of confidential data. I have seen several cases where individuals have shared the entire contents of their hard disk on Limewire - and some of those individuals were directors or other members of senior management.

    1. screaminfakah


      And do you really think that someone who has any skill and knowledge with using a computer would use Limewire to do anything secret or usefull. I stopped using those networks years ago. There are far better and more secure ways to P2P.

      1. Tom 13

        He said "directors and other members of senior management."

        You said "someone who has any skill and knowledge with using a computer." I believe the intersection of those two sets is exceedingly small, and all of them are well paid in private sector jobs.

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Next in this saga: LAMO OUTS INTERNETS!

    "It made lots of documents available. Completely irresponsible."

  16. JaitcH

    Just another company trying to ride WikiLeaks coat tails

    Even people without their on server can spoof addresses, those with their own servers can do it more effectively.

    Given WikiLeaks penchant for security they more than likely use VPN's terminating in many countries.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like someone took a big dump... of files

    Just kidding. But I did register.

    This is just a campaign to make it sound like 'Oh, WikiLeaks searched for the terms. Treason.' I'd love to see the evidence the proves it WAS WikiLeaks, but I'm pretty sure there isn't any. We should all just start using those search terms just to piss them off. The government will stoop to any level to get their way, the only thing I see happening is that the gov is forcing distrust of it's own government upon it's citizens. Way to go.

    I kinda wanna move to canada now

    1. Ysean

      Treason you say???

      You do realize that in order to be found guilty of treason (at least in the US) you have to be a CITIZEN of the US, yes? (Well, it may be true for people on green cards / work visas as well. I'm not sure. But, basically, if you're a foreigner you can't be guilty of treason against the US.)

  18. CreativName
    Big Brother

    Can the little brothers watch big brother back?

    Facebook (one example) gives the public's personal and confidential information to the authorities, why can't the public get information which has a confidential status from the authorities?

    Sue the government(s)!

  19. Anonymous Coward


    Somebody leaks info via P2P - a year later, it's on Wikileaks.

    Ergo, Wikileaks must have searched for them and retrieved them? That's one massive (and probably completely false) assumption. I call BS - evidence or STFU.

    Incidentally, how does one actually search for something like this? "US+secret+documents+torrent"?

  20. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Bloody hell!

    US Gov needs a good excuse to nail P2P as the "meeja" moguls, who are all in with the Gov top-bods, want it dead. So lets say P2P trades not only in copyright material but Uncle Sam's top secret stuff too!

    My God!!!! If you use P2P you are not only a thieving scumbag ripping off hard working millionaire musicians and actors, but your are a traitorous, thieving scumbag too and very un-American!!!

  21. Tigra 07
    IT Angle

    Titles?! We don't need no stinkin' titles!

    This is espionage and could be a silver bullet against Wikileaks if it's proved.

    They're actually appearing to look like a terrorist organisation or spy agency after this.

    It could also affect Julian's trial and eventual execution in America.

    1. Tom 13

      No, it's not espionage and won't be a silver bullet against Wikileaks.

      And I'm one of the people who thinks that the sooner a silver bullet is delivered into Wikileaks, the better off we all will be.

  22. Hooch181
    Paris Hilton

    I'm just sitting here...

    by the river with my fishing rod, bait and a six pack...

    Sure I'll catch something! Has to be something! Please, let there be something!

    Who keeps confidential documents on private PC's with P2P software on them? Oh, Yeah, obviously the US government!

    Paris: Because I bet she likes fishing!

  23. Criminny Rickets


    Hmm, according to ISP logs, on or about December 2008, a computer in the US connected to a computer in Sweden.

    You know what this means of course??? Why President Obama himself sent all those files to Wikileaks!!!

    Makes just as much sense as the Tiversa explanation.

  24. Anonymous Coward



    "It's not the first time WikiLeaks has been accused of trawling public networks for the confidential material it posts."

    What'd I miss? Was the word "public" meant to be in there? How dare they look at open networks...shocking...

    And anyone that thinks secrecy, of any for, for our public bodies, makes sense, then they deserve all they get :)

    Open Source *everything*...they work for us. We have a right to know. We pay their wages ( if you believe in all that nonsenes ) is our information...You could all, of course, just walk without questioning anything, to your grave....

    Repeat after me:

    The gov is right,

    I believe what they do

    They never lie,

    To me or to you.

    You'll be grand..on your way...

  25. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Secrecy isn't what it used to be

    If a US Government website is prefaced by the word 'Secret' and I look at it, am I now a treacherous spy?

    They gave 3 million people the right to look at the Cablegate documents so they must have anticpated and be hoping for a leak, or else they are criminally incompetent.

    You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    the only thing this article show is the US sucks at info security. searching p2p nets for those documents is not illegal (outside the US) publishing them if you find them is not illegal (outside the US) and the US has no jurisdiction over anyone involved. that's if it isn't all bullshit anyway and has

    there been any company involved in keeping tabs on/prosecuting people over P2P that wasn't full of shit?

    also why are the wikileaks articles always full of comments by people who apparently can't write in english. half the ones here don't make any sense at all.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like