Another good reason not to throw your laptop in the trash. We can’t believe stories like this, hard to imagine what could have happened if this fell into the wrong hands. The bottom line – don’t risk it, use Capitol Asset Recycling, we’ll shred your hard drive and certify we have done it.
Afghanistan military secrets sold for £18.87 on eBay after army officer dumped laptop in a skip
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 2:10 PM on 11th November 2010
An Oxford-educated army officer’s laptop containing military secrets was sold on the internet for £18.87 after he threw it in a skip. Captain Robert Sugden, 29, was today being investigated by MoD chiefs after the security breach which risked the lives of soldiers in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan veteran’s scavenged computer, sold on eBay for ‘spares or repair’, could have been used to deadly effect by the Taliban. Files – none of which required passwords – included troop numbers, patrol details, ammunition stock lists and locations of every police command post in a Helmand town. The shocked buyer, who handed the laptop to the MoD, also found it contained hundreds of photos, along with names and other details, of locals risking their lives by joined the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army. Also stored on the Toshiba Satellite A30 laptop was a copy of the Afghan National Police’s tactical handbook, giving details of every aspect of how to take on and defeat the enemy, including how to identify IED roadside bombs. The computer was used by Sandhurst-trained Cpt Sugden during seven months with the Coldstream Guards in Afghanistan. After handing it over to the MoD, the IT engineer who made the winning bid on the internet auction site told The Sun: ‘I couldn’t believe it – the laptop could have been bought by anyone. ‘I realised straight away it wasn’t the kind of stuff that should have been for sale on eBay. I contacted the seller to ask if he wanted a copy of the data – but he said no.’
Cpt Sugden – married to barrister Amy, 27, and originally from Tanzania – is so highly thought of he was appointed assistant Queen’s Equerry after his Afghanistan tour. His year in the plum role, seen as a stepping stone to higher things, ended only last month. The officer, an anti-tank platoon commander in Afghanistan, told top brass he thought the laptop’s hard drive had been wiped when he dumped it. As a further precaution, he used a hammer to wreck the machine. But once the IT expert who purchased the machine opened it up, he discovered the hard drive intact and found details that could have highly valuable for terrorists. Many documents were classed as secret or restricted. The locations of police command posts was even conveniently filed under the heading ‘Nato Secret’. Referring to one of the bases, the report states: ‘Many police asleep or high on heroin’. Other documents detail corruption in the Afghan police and among local leaders. One secret file on ‘key personalities’ details 14 senior figures in the Helmand town of Gereshk. The damning verdict on one is: ‘Skims money off reconstruction funds for personal gain, and has connections with narcotics trade.’ Another document includes detailed backgrounds and pictures of the chiefs of police in Helmand. An MoD spokesman told Mail Online: ‘We take information security extremely seriously. We are now in possession of the laptop and are investigating the incident.’