U.S. military documents leak traced to Minecraft Discord server
Last weekend, the U.S. military suffered a massive leak of documents that could have a significant impact on the war in Ukraine. The leak, which officials says is one of the “most damaging in decades,” was traced to a Discord server for Minecraft.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, hundreds of files were first uploaded to a small Discord server with mostly American users. However, these files were later re-uploaded to a larger Minecraft Discord server in March. From said server, the files soon spread to other places, including Twitter, Telegram and imageboard 4chan. (Read: Discord adds AI features, raises privacy concerns in the process)
Around 50 of the leaked files were classified as either “Secret” or “Top Secret.”
The military documents included in the leak stated to contain details on Ukraine’s air defense systems and offensive capability. These include the types of weapons used by the country’s armed forces, statistics on battlefield fatalities and details on its communication about U.S. military allies.
As for why someone would take military documents and leak them to a Minecraft Discord, they apparently did so to prove a point during an argument about the war in Ukraine.
As for whether Russia was involved in the leak, at least one Ukrainian official stated that he did not believe this was the case.
“If you have a working channel for receiving intelligence from the Pentagon, you will not destroy it for a one-day information drive,” stated Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Telegram.
That said, Podolyak speculated that a pro-Russia account had publicized the leak to distract and sow division among Ukraine’s allies.
For its part, Discord is cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement to investigate how the military documents had become part of the leak and if it’s limited to just the one Minecraft Discord server.
“It is Discord’s highest priority to ensure a safe experience for our users. When we are made aware of content that violates our policies, our Safety team investigates and takes the appropriate action, including banning users, shutting down servers, and engaging with law enforcement,” stated a Discord spokesperson to Kotaku.
“Our dedicated Safety team uses a mix of proactive and reactive tools to keep activity that violates our policies off the service, including advanced technology like machine learning models, equipping and empowering community moderators to uphold our policies and Community Guidelines, and providing in-service reporting mechanisms,” the spokesperson added. “Our team also proactively takes additional measures based on wider platform trends or intelligence they receive.”
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