Over 700 pages full of confidential files detailing various terrorism investigations spearheaded by crime-fighting agency Europol have reportedly been exposed online after an employee copied the data on a USB drive and accessed it using a home computer connected to the Internet.
The information leaked includes hundreds of names and phone numbers belonging to individuals involved in terrorist investigation. It also included analysis of the Hofstad Network, the Madrid bombings and foiled attacks on airplanes with liquid explosives, according to Zembla, the Dutch television programme. It is noted that some identities included in the exposed files may still be under long-term active investigation.
The Europol has already confirmed that the data was exposed because of a human error and said that it already launched an internal investigation to discover what exactly happened. It is found that all files were left unencrypted on a storage device plugged into a computer without a password and connected to the Internet, which made it possible for anyone discovering them to download the data freely.
“The concerned former staff member, who is an experienced police officer from a national authority, uploaded Europol data to a private storage device while still working at Europol, in clear contravention to it’s policy”, Europol’s spokesperson Jan Op Gen Oorth said.