The Los Angeles Times reports that only days after flash drives containing sensitive military data were found for sale in a Kabul street market, they're available again. It seems that after the Times
first reported the data breach, military folk went through the market
and bought all the drives they could lay their hands on. For a few
days, there were no drives available, but by last Friday, drives were
once again being smuggled off the base and into the market.
If the Times' description of “thousands” of drives for sale
is accurate, the potential parameters of the data breach are kind of
unnerving. The drives sometimes turn up wiped (though the Times
story points out that deletion isn't a permanent condition), but the
range of information turning up is amazing — everything from maps
showing where Osama Bin Laden might be traveling to pain-compliance
technique information to names and addresses of operatives to Web pages
explaining where to buy anabolic steroids.
The Times goes a good job setting the scene: Apparently the
drives are often walking off the base with local folk working on the
base (whether as employees or messengers and the like). The shopkeepers
don't necessarily know what they're selling — one gentleman apparently
priced his wares by color — though they note that prices have
increased tenfold for American shoppers since the original story broke.
And every Afghani interviewed seems to agree: The “trade” shows no
signs of drying up.