London Heathrow Airport Security Secrets Found on USB Drive on City Street

Oct 29, 2017

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The United Kingdom just stepped up security protocols for flights from the Maldives, but it looks like London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) has a far more critical security threat on its hands. The most intimate security details of United Kingdom’s largest airport were just found on a USB stick “among leaves on the pavement” of a London street.

An “unemployed man” reportedly found the unencrypted USB stick while on his way to the library to search for a job. Instead of going to the police, he turned over the drive to the UK’s Sunday Mirror which broke the story overnight Saturday. Airport security and the police have now launched a “very, very urgent” investigation.

According to the Sunday Mirror, the USB drive included 2.5 gigabytes of data organized into “76 folders with maps, videos and ­documents” which included:

The exact route the Queen takes when using the airport and security measures used to protect her.

Files disclosing every type of ID needed — even those used by covert cops — to access restricted areas.

A timetable of patrols that was used to guard the site against suicide bombers and terror attacks.

Maps pinpointing CCTV cameras and a network of tunnels and escape shafts linked to the Heathrow Express.

Routes and safeguards for Cabinet ministers and foreign dignitaries.

Details of the ultrasound radar system used to scan runways and the perimeter fence.

Reportedly, this security information comes from “a number of different systems,” meaning that it wasn’t just from one breach of security. It’s not currently known who may have accessed this information prior to the drive being found or where else this information may have been shared. An unidentified security source told the Mirror: “In the wrong hands this would represent a profound threat in terms of terrorism or espionage.”

The threat level in the UK is currently Severe, meaning “an attack is highly likely.” This has been the threat level since being reduced from Critical on September 17 in the aftermath of the London Tube bombing.

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport told the Mirror that airport security has “reviewed all of [its] security plans and [is] confident that Heathrow remains secure.” The airport has also launched an “internal investigation to understand how this happened” and to make sure that this security failure doesn’t happen again.

Featured image courtesy of Scott Barbour via Getty Images.

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