Security News

US Navy Cyber-Snoops US Air Force

The US Navy has been doing some cyber-snooping into one of its own ... the US Air Force!

According to a memo obtained by Military Times, a Navy prosecutor made the decision to embed tracking software into emails sent to defense attorneys involved in the war-crimes case of a Navy SEAL. One of these attorneys was an Air Force lawyer. The tracking device was placed in the hope it would find who was leaking information to the Navy Times, the editor of which was also targeted by a tracking device.

The Air Force lawyer discovered the device and reported it to his information security manager. It was decided the device was malware that allowed its sender to access to the target's computer and all its files.

"I've learned that the Air Force is treating this malware as a cyber-intrusion on their network, and have seized the Air Force Individual Military Counsel's computer and phone for review," wrote Navy Captain David Wilson, chief of staff for the Navy's Defense Service Offices, in a May 19 memo.

The Navy judge in the case of Navy SEAL, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who is accused of the 2017 stabbing death a teenage Islamic State fighter in Iraq, issued a gag order prohibiting defense attorneys from sharing certain documents with the media. When the media leaks continued, the Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) launched an investigation. It was then that questions about the Navy’s use of secret digital tracking devices began to be asked.

Navy spokesman, Navy Captain Greg Hicks, confirmed that NCIS is conducting 'an ongoing investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of information covered by a judge’s protective order.' He declined to comment on the device targeting Navy Times.

The Air Force has not (yet) responded to requests for comment.

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