PDF mistake unveils UK's nuclear submarine secrets

A report made available to the public this week accidentally unveiled a nuclear submarines secrets. The documents were revealed on an online MoD report which talked about how the submarines could deal with catastrophic events.

Through a technical error by the Ministry of Defense, a well kept secret was published in an online document. The secretive information was blacked out in the document, but instead of actually removing it, the text was formatted to match the background, leaving all the text in place. By simply copying and pasting into another document, the blacked out text was revealed, which contained sensitive information about nuclear submarines. The documents on the website are released in PDF formats to the public.

The BBC reported that the mistakenly released documents contained information about both US and UK submarine reactors being vulnerable to attacks from enemy submarines, information that could potentially turn fatal if it landed in the wrong hands.

The embarrassing mistake was quickly taken down and fixed after media outlets reported the error. The Ministry of Defense says they are working to ensure that mistakes like this don't happen again.

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Through a technical error by the Ministry of Defense...

Hardly a technical error. That suggests a failure of the technology itself. This isn't the case here. This is a failure of the human operating the computer, ie. they didn't have a clue how to use it. It doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the men and women responsible for our nuclear submarines.

The author could have at least disabled the copying function in the PDF, that would've afforded at least some protection for this "hidden" text. Or better yet, just delete the text. However I guess (s)he just couldn't be bothered to re-format the document after losing large chunks of it. It's lazyness really and I guess now (s)he has learned their lesson.

TCLN Ryster said,

Hardly a technical error. That suggests a failure of the technology itself. This isn't the case here. This is a failure of the human operating the computer, ie. they didn't have a clue how to use it. It doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the men and women responsible for our nuclear submarines.

The author could have at least disabled the copying function in the PDF, that would've afforded at least some protection for this "hidden" text. Or better yet, just delete the text. However I guess (s)he just couldn't be bothered to re-format the document after losing large chunks of it. It's lazyness really and I guess now (s)he has learned their lesson.


+∞

By the way, the whole sentence really only meant that the guy highlighted the text in black.

FMH said,
It could also be a plan. Maybe it could be false information, to fool their enemies.
That would be ideal.. but really, our gov't don't think that far ahead

Ryoken said,
That would be ideal.. but really, our gov't don't think that far ahead
OMG! They have fooled you too!

FMH said,
It could also be a plan. Maybe it could be false information, to fool their enemies.

lol no the MOD is not that clever heheheh

The BBC reported that the mistakenly released documents contained information about both US and UK submarine reactors being vulnerable to attacks from enemy submarines

Sorry, but any submarine based reactor is vulnerable to attacks from enemy submarines. No additional info is required apart from where the sub is. And i'm sure the pdf's don't include that info.

If they contain information that allows other nations to work out the sound of the reactor, then it could help them in locating the subs...

Edited by DaveLegg, Apr 17 2011, 8:53pm :

DaveLegg said,
If they contain information that allows other nations to work out the sound of the reactor, then it could help them in locating the subs...

Yea, Because nuclear fission IS totally loud, ya know.

Zirus said,

Yea, Because nuclear fission IS totally loud, ya know.

True, but the cooling and other ancillary processes are. And it doesn't have to be loud, just detectable.

Manish said,
Someone's getting fired.

Little more than fired, it is technically an act of treason. I have a friend who was in the Navy as a sub technician, he isn't allowed to say a thing as it is treason.

Nicholas-c said,

Little more than fired, it is technically an act of treason. I have a friend who was in the Navy as a sub technician, he isn't allowed to say a thing as it is treason.

Treason would be deliberately leaking it. He's just probably never going to be hirable for any Government body ever again.

PatrynXX said,

thats an oldie. requires a Homer'''' DO'H!!!!

"its my first day.." haha homer gets a dishonorable discharge