A mistake that exposed at least a terabyte of military emails has triggered an investigation by the Defense Department and Microsoft Corp, according to Bloomberg. The emails contained personal information and conversations about a cloud-computing contract worth $9 billion.
The emails belonged to U.S. Transportation Command, which oversees logistics for the military. They were hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, which has been awarded a potential $9 billion contract to compete for orders under the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program. Microsoft had won the previous $10 billion JEDI project but was then prevented from doing it by an Amazon lawsuit, leading to the DoD postponing the initiative.
The JEDI program aims to modernize the Pentagon’s IT infrastructure and provide secure cloud services to support warfighters and commanders. However, it has been mired in legal disputes and challenges from other tech companies, such as Amazon.com Inc., Oracle Corp., and Alphabet Inc.
Questions About Microsoft´s Ability to Protect Sensitive Data
The email leak raises questions about Microsoft’s ability to protect sensitive data and comply with security standards required by the Pentagon. It also exposes potential vulnerabilities in the cloud systems that are increasingly used by government agencies and private businesses.
According to Bloomberg, some of the exposed emails contained classified information or discussed sensitive topics such as troop movements or nuclear weapons. The leak occurred because of a misconfiguration in Microsoft’s software that allowed anyone with a free Azure account to access and download the emails.
Microsoft Promises Improvements
Microsoft said it fixed the issue within 48 hours and notified affected customers. The company also said it is working with U.S. Transportation Command to conduct a thorough review of what happened and prevent future incidents.
The Pentagon said it takes data security seriously and is cooperating with Microsoft to assess the impact of the leak. The department also said it is reviewing its policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations.
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