US Air Force, FBI and Tennessee state agencies radio communication system compromised

According to a search warrant that was acquired by Forbes, the Pentagon is conducting an investigation into what it has described as a “critical compromise” of communications across 17 Air Force locations that was caused by one of its engineers. Additionally, the paper provides proof of a probable breach of FBI communications that may have been committed by the same individual at the Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee.

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According to the warrant, the government had been warned off by a base contractor that the 48-year-old engineer had taken federal radio technology home with him, thereby stealing them for his personal use. The warrant said that the quantity of equipment that had been stolen was about $90,000 worth.

According to the warrant, when law enforcement officials conducted a search on his residence, they discovered that he had “unauthorized administrator access” to radio communications technology that was being utilized by the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), which “affected 17 DoD installations.” The Air Education and Training Command (AETC) is one of nine “major commands,” which the Pentagon describes as being “interrelated and complementary, providing offensive, defensive, and support elements” to the Air Force Headquarters.

These fresh charges come only three months after another significant breach of security at the Pentagon, but the administration has not provided any specifics about the scope or type of the material that was stolen. During that event, it was stated that an employee of the Air National Guard named Jack Teixera disclosed critical information relating to the conflict in Ukraine on the social network known as Discord. In June, Teixera entered a not guilty plea, and in the meanwhile, the Department of Defense (DoD) developed plans to tighten its security mechanisms in order to avoid future breaches like this one.

During the search, investigators also found an open computer screen that showed the suspect was running Motorola radio programming software. According to the warrant, this software “contained the entire Arnold Air Force Base (AAFB) communications system.” This was discovered after the suspect’s computer was taken over by law enforcement.

They also claimed to have discovered proof that the suspect had likely access to communications of the FBI and numerous Tennessee state agencies; however, officials did not disclose any more details on what data he had gotten.

Despite the fact that data was stated in the search warrant that the FBI was collaborating with the Air Force on the investigation, the FBI has not offered any statement as of the time of publishing.

According to the warrant, “witnesses and co-workers” told investigators that the suspect “sold radios and radio equipment, worked odd hours, was arrogant, frequently lied, displayed inappropriate workplace behavior and sexual harassment, had financial problems, and possessed [Arnold Air Force Base land mobile radio] equipment.” Investigators said that he was reported twice by a coworker due to “insider threat indicators” and improper possession of Air Force equipment.

According to Forbes, the suspect’s LinkedIn profile reveals that he has a significant amount of experience in both the field of cyber security and radio communications. He asserts that he has conducted multiple tests of the security at the Arnold Air Force Base, increased the protection of radio communications on the site, and was familiar with the encryption that is used on federal data.