Photos of Prince William Expose Royal Air Force Passwords

A series of official photos of Prince William at work with the Royal Air Force has exposed several RAF passwords and other sensitive data.

“The images were taken by a Ministry of Defense photographer at RAF Valley, in Anglesey, north Wales, where the prince is based,” writes ABC News’ Eliza Murphy. “Originally intended to be used as a PR initiative highlighting his role as part of the RAF Search and Rescue squadron, they’ve now turned into an embarrassing and sticky situation.”

“Four of the pictures … were removed from the website by St James’s Palace after the MoD realised sensitive information was visible on computer screens and bulletin boards in the background of the shots,” writes The Daily Beast’s Tom Sykes.

“In one, William is in a briefing room in front of a computer with a password prompt screen open,” writes The Daily Mail’s Rebecca English. “Another shows a document on the desk and an email open on a computer. Other photographs show details of passwords and user names pinned up on a wall.”

“One photo, titled, ‘Flt. Lt. Wales is part of a four man crew,’ showed Prince William sitting in front of a notice on a board with a user name and password clearly visible,” writes The Inquirer’s Dave Neal.

“The photographs … had to be replaced and new versions launched with sensitive details pixelated out,” writes The Guardian’s Caroline Davies. “As a precaution, the MoD has been forced to reset the user names and passwords of some RAF staff on its internal system.”

“‘Incidents like this highlight the urgent need for organisations in both the public and private sectors to take the threat posed by visual data security breach seriously — especially those that deal with national security or commercially sensitive information,’ said Brian Honan, information security expert for the European Association for Visual Data Security,” writes Silicon Republic’s Elaine Burke. “While millions is spent each year on IT security, little is done to implement visual data security procedures — the importance of which has been highlighted by the Ministry of Defence’s slip.”

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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