Feeds

back to article Japan forgot data wipe on ship sold to Pyongyang

The Japanese government's data protection policies have been called into question after it emerged that a decommissioned coast guard vessel was sold to a pro-North Korea organisation without any checks as to whether key data on board was first deleted. The 106-ton Japan Coast Guard patrol boat Takachiho was taken out of service …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

Numpties.

Not that routine peace-time navigation data is a matter of national security, mind ... but still. I've never given a used PC provided by a third-party to a child without doing a "walking ones" milspec wipe of the harddrive prior to installing the OS ...

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Numpties.

The navigation system is integral to the ship, if wiped the whole system stops working.

The fact that you can see where the ship has been makes no difference.... It's where it is now that is more important especially to the average law breaker or China.

0
8
Silver badge

Re: Numpties.

"The navigation system is integral to the ship, if wiped the whole system stops working."

a) Incorrect. Nav systems are hardly necessary to make way, even in modern vessels.

b) The ship was scrapped, so the point is moot.

"The fact that you can see where the ship has been makes no difference.... It's where it is now that is more important especially to the average law breaker or China."

Again, incorrect. Navigation data from the last couple weeks, in the heightened tensions in the area, is far more valuable to an "opposing force" ... for small values of "force" in this case, of course ... than routine patrols from two years ago.

9
0
Thumb Up

Re: Numpties.

Agreed. This data is probably useful. You can use it to correlate your own intel systems. You may find evidence of breaches of maritime law, or international agreements. You could even cause an internal scandal in japan just by NK holding a press conference showing off readouts of the data.

AFAIK, the japanese "Coast Guard" is a thinly disguised navy, and they are ramping it up - mostly wrt to countering China.

1
1
Big Brother

Re: Numpties.

Knowing where it's been, how long it takes and identifying movement patterns is of great use if you want to avoid meeting a patrol vessel.

Cost now, if security is an issue to Japan, is to alter the patrol routes so that the same areas get covered but at different times, approach direction and fit in with the patrols of their other 'Coastguard' ships.

6
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Numpties.

Or maybe the Japanese put fake data on the navigation system, and then let it be known that they 'forgot' to wipe it.

4
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Numpties.

Maybe they get a much better price for ships with the data included?

1
0

Japanese "Coast Guard"

The Japanese Coast Guard is actually a Coast Guard, their 'Navy' is the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force. Either organisation would appear to be better equipped than such coastal defence outfits as the Royal Navy...

4
1
Silver badge

Re: Numpties.

The proper way of making your hard drive unreadable is with a large hammer, not by overwriting.

Does depend on how valuable the data is to the person trying to recover it. Even a wiped hard drive can be readable.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Numpties.

>>AFAIK, the japanese "Coast Guard" is a thinly disguised navy, and they are ramping it up - mostly wrt to countering China.

They're still a Coast Guard, but they're better funded and better equipped than the Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces. They're the better Navy honestly, but I'm pretty sure their Guardsmen do not have protections under the Geneva conventions as the United States Coast Guard does as a Wartime component of the Department of the Navy and as a peacetime component of the Department of Homeland Security.

Much like the Russian Federal Security Bureau (read: KGB)'s Federal Border Guard Service, the Japan Coastguard's employees are civilian government employees from a legal perspective. The thing about this is that in a time of war, civilians who are carrying out Military activity are considered at best Irregulars and at worst, Spies.

Either way there really aren't Geneva Protections for anyone doing that, not that its really mattered since Vietnam (some would say Korea) whether a combatant has them or not. On my Military ID it says I do, but I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that if I'm captured I'm getting tortured, beheaded, or (hopefully) just shot.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Numpties.

"Does depend on how valuable the data is to the person trying to recover it. Even a wiped hard drive can be readable."

True, that's why we always degaussed our hard drives in the US DoD. Erases the platters, in spite of the mu metal shielding and cooks the electronics quite well done.

A hammer *MIGHT* dent the platter, more probably, it'll deform the case and all data is intact.

I've also used thermite, in a pinch. Even the NSA can't get data from a platter that has met with burning thermite.

1
0

Re: Numpties.

"Even a wiped hard drive can be readable."

Not if you wipe it with thermite.

0
0
Silver badge

@Rattus Rattus (was: Re: Numpties.)

No need for thermite. It's perfectly possible to make old data unrecoverable without rendering the hardware unusable. Takes awhile to overwrite every bit with the opposite bit enough times, and to ensure that surrounding bits rotate appropriately ... but it can be done.

Drivesavers down in Novato hates me ;-)

0
0
Silver badge

@jake Re: @Rattus Rattus (was: Numpties.)

Remember that the experts are not just trying to read the disk using the read/write head. They open them up and use something more sensitive. Long term bit patterns will leach their magnetic polarisation into the non formatted area around the track and leave a signature. Also, if the head alignment has slowly drifted, there might be a readable parallel track.

Even broken sections of the platter may be recoverable.

Safe way for military - large magnetic field to wipe, then reduce to ash/molten blob.

Safe way for home use - Large nail through case. Unless you've been a naughty boy and taken home military secrets.

0
0
Thumb Up

Its not like they will have been broadcasting AIS location data and you couldnt have just watched the ship here:

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/

It seems somehow easier to just watch it on the internet than trying to salvage the nav systems from the scrappers and read the data off it.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re; AIS

I think only vessels of 300t or over are required to transmit AIS data, and this is described as merely 106t but your point is well made. Unless it was some kind of missile equipped strike craft, which is unlikely to have been sold as a going concern, this is a non-story except for the frustrating sheeple wetting themselves to be told the next enemy of the day. Note the clueless reference to China in an earlier comment.

3
2
Thumb Down

Re: Re; AIS

"...this is a non-story except for the frustrating sheeple wetting themselves to be told the next enemy of the day. Note the clueless reference to China in an earlier comment."

Sounds like someone needs a history lesson. China may be becoming the enemy-de-jour for some countries, but theres been no love lost between Japan and China for many a year.

You might want to take a read of this too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senkaku_Islands_dispute and maybe catch up a little with current affairs:

http://www.businessinsider.com/japan-to-raise-military-budget-for-first-time-in-a-decade-amid-china-row-2013-1

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/06/us-china-japan-navy-idUSBRE9251GU20130306

4
0

I doubt AIS data would be any good with naval vessels as they dont seem to broadcast AIS. I live on the Bristol Channel coast and the only naval vessels I have seen broadcasting AIS have been University Royal Navy Units P2000 patrol boats.

0
0
Silver badge
Linux

Duck!

"I doubt AIS data would be any good with naval vessels as they dont seem to broadcast AIS."

Not true. Last week there were a dozen warships on exercise in this area, all viewable on AIS.

The Americans don't seem to have gone home, according to nomnomnom this must mean an imminent NORK invasion.

This just snapped today.

http://ubuntuone.com/1N2WOuO9HJ4DZv7ZrRW8Ug

0
0

Re: Duck!

Naval vessels do have AIS, they're just also more likely to a) know how to turn it off b) be willing to break the law by doing so even if it's just for an exercise, after all who's going to tell them off?

2
0
Silver badge

Given North Korea is really a proxy for the Russian puppet government, it would pay to look at this in terms of what the Russian shadow government in Washington has to gain from this release of data. Of course Washington being largely owned by the Japanese...

0
11
Bronze badge

Er, NK is a puppet for the PRC and the Chinese have more influence over American policy than the Japanese these days, probably have had since the cigar fetishist was president.

4
0
Silver badge

Grassy Knollington

That's you that is.

2
1
Silver badge

I see the Man is out in force downvoting the Truth

1
3
Silver badge

You've just gotta love those CAPS

2
0

Geopolitical toddler

@NomNomNom, perhaps you would consider standing as a Republican vice-presidential nominee? You are eminently qualified.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

I see the paranoid fool quite obviously manipulated by people with creative imaginations looking for a quick buck and nothing more has forgotten to take their meds.

NURSE!!! Its out of bed and ranting nonsense again!!

0
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Geopolitical toddler

Actually, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, it is likely Nomnomnom can spell 'potato'

1
0

If it's not in the regulations...

Japanese working culture dictates that If wiping nav data isn't in the "How To Decomission a Warship for Sale to a Potential Enemy" handbook, it won't be done.

3
0
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Unless of course it's a clever counter-intel op

to take down the NORK systems with Stuxnet 83.0.8.7.659

1
0
Thumb Down

pushing selective prejudice

If NORKS, why not JAPS?

1
0
Silver badge
Go

Maybe the DPRK is using the Facebook business model?

We'll break up your ship for free, as long as we can have your data! And while you are considering that, we'll show you some adds for Viagra and seedy dating sites....

1
0

So why does a social organization (General Association of Korean Residents) which doubles as the unofficial NORK embassy buy a former coast guard boat for scrap ? Does your PTA (Home School Club) buy leftover boats for a fundraiser ? No, you need a shipyard to do that. They bought it to ship to North Korea. Knowing the Japanese patrol zones from historical data not erased from the Nav System is just an added bonus. Priceless ??

The General Association of Korean Residents is widely believed to be the funnel for great amounts of Pachinko parlor profit remittances into North Korea. They would also be an ideal way to get restricted or dual-use equipment (hi-tech) into North Korea, since they are already known to export legitimate used cars from Japan. There are many high end automobiles reported stolen in Japan but never recovered. Since the bureaucracy surrounding automobile registration and inspections (sha-ken) are suffocating, these missing vehicles are not being used in Japan. Now, who has a conduit for car exports overseas ? It wouldn't be entirely fair to single out the North Koreans since a fair number of these stolen cars end up in China as well. And to be honest, it's not North Koreans stealing the cars off the street, that is done by local Japanese (booryoku-dan or mafia, AKA the Yakuza). The North Korean's just happen to catch them when they "fall off the truck".

Cheers,

(Former long-term resident of Japan)

2
0
Gold badge
Happy

"General Association of Korean Residents in Japan"

Isn't that another description of the entry requirements for the Yakuza?

BTW Doesn't anyone else find NormNormNorm's comments a bit suspicious for someone whose a champion of the AGW theory?

Like someone's passed his PC and decided to have a bit of fun?

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.