A laptop computer used in a Taiwanese Kuang Hua VI (HK-6) fast attack missile boat is missing. Some hacks are proclaiming that the boat’s stealth-capability has somehow extended to the laptop. If so, kudos to Taiwan; however, I also hope they had disk encryption software like AlertBoot installed on it.
Communication Codes and Missile Data
The Kuang Hua VI class missile boat is a patrol craft developed by Taiwan. It is a stealth ship, meaning that it won’t be detected by radar. The boats are state-of-the-art, having been launched in 2010, and as such, the theft of any information related to them represent a serious data breach:
“If China obtained the laptop, it would get the Navy’s highly sensitive communications code as well as related missile data,” said Erich Shih, an editor at Taipei-based Defence International magazine said.
However, Lo said the missing computer would not jeopardize the missile ship’s warfare capability because no military secrets were on the computer.
Major General Chang Kuan-chun, vice head of the military’s Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology, said the computer was used to conduct common communication tests for the missile ship, so the computer was only equipped with common communications software. [taipeitimes.com]
The “confidential information” aspect was also downplayed by Colonel Lin Gau-joe, the acting general director of the information and communications research division at Chung Shan.
Other sources are also confirming that military secrets were not on the computer. As it should be: rt.com notes that the computer “belonged to a private contractor and was used for testing confidential communication equipment and procedures.” Not that contractors are not privy to top secret information (after all, plenty of contractors can get security clearances).
Physical Security vs. Encryption Security
This is another prime example why relying on physical security to protect the contents of a laptop computer (or any type of computer or computing device, for that matter) is a bad idea. Things disappear. They get stolen. Even from top-secret, secure venues like an active-duty ship.
Have you got information to protect? Is it on a laptop or mobile device? Then secure it properly with encryption.
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