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Engineers At NYU Accidentally Leak Program Designed To Break Military Codes

May 12, 2017

Engineers at New York University accidentally leaked a computer project on the internet that was designed to break through military codes, according to a recent report by The Intercept.

The breach was found when a digital security researcher – who was referred to as Adam in order to protect his identity (and his day job) – discovered files from the project that should not have been made public, according to the report.

Adam used a program known as Shodan, which is a search engine of devices connected to the internet; according to The Intercept, Shodan is “a website that’s roughly equivalent to Google for internet-connected, and typically unsecured, computers and appliances around the world, famous for turning up everything from baby monitors to farming equipment.”

The drive that Adam discovered “held confidential information on an advanced code-breaking machine that had never before been described in public,” according to the report. “Dozens of documents spanning hundreds of pages detailed the project, a joint supercomputing initiative administered by NYU, the Department of Defense and IBM.”

According to The Intercept, Adam told reporters that “[t]he fact that this software, these spec sheets, and all the manuals to go with it were sitting out in the open for anyone to copy is just simply mind-blowing. Not even a single username or password separates these files from the public internet right now. It’s absolute insanity.”

Adam has since contacted NYU, and the university removed said files.