Computer Bought on eBay Spills Missile Secrets

British team finds sensitive stuff on a third of used machines

Top secret details for a missile defense system were found by British researchers on a used computer bought on eBay.

The machine's hard drive contained test launch procedures for a system used to shoot down Scud missiles in Iraq, according to the London Daily Mail. The drive also held security policies, blueprints off security facilities and personal information about employees of defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

The researchers, from BT's Security Research Centre, found the data while examining more than 300 hard drives from computers bought second-hand. The information on employees included Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and medical records.

BT said more than one-third of the drives from computers bought at auctions and fairs around the world contained sensitive information.

"For a very large proportion of  the disks we looked at, we found enough information to expose both individuals and companies to a range off potential crimes such as fraud, blackmail and identity theft," said Andy Jones, who led the study.

A Lockheed Martin spokesman said the company could not comment on the data until it examines the hardware.

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