Britain 'mistakenly' forwards classified emails meant for US to Mali
A spokesperson for the British Defense Ministry says a "small number" of emails meant for the Pentagon were accidentally forwarded to Mali.
The British Defense Ministry has opened an inquiry after its officials "unintentionally" forwarded classified emails due to a typing error, the British newspaper The Times reported.
According to the report, a "small number" of emails meant for the Pentagon were accidentally forwarded to Mali, which is considered a key Russian ally, due to the deletion of an "i" from an email address.
The emails were sent by British officials to an address ending with the West African country's ".ml" domain, rather than the US military's ".mil" domain, the newspaper explained.
"We have opened an investigation after a small number of emails were mistakenly forwarded to an incorrect email domain," a spokesperson for the British Defense Ministry was quoted as saying.
"We are confident they did not contain any information that could compromise operational security or technical data," the spokesperson claimed, adding that "all sensitive information is shared on systems designed to minimise the risk of misdirection."
Nevertheless, the report noted that some of the emails allegedly contained sensitive information such as passwords, medical data, and high officials' travel plans.
The spokesperson said the British Ministry of Defense "constantly reviews its processes and is currently undertaking a programme of work to improve information management, data loss prevention, and the control of sensitive information."
It is noteworthy that last week, it was reported that millions of US military emails were misdirected to Mali due to a "typo leak" that revealed extremely sensitive information such as diplomatic documents, tax returns, passwords, and top officials' travel data.
Despite repeated warnings over a decade, a steady flow of email traffic continues to the .ml domain, the country identifier for Mali, as a result of people mistyping .mil, the suffix to all US military email addresses.
Johannes Zuurbier, a Dutch internet entrepreneur with a contract to maintain Mali's country name, spotted the problem about a decade ago and has been collecting misdirected emails since January to persuade the US to take the matter seriously. Around 117,000 misdirected messages are in his possession.