Bellingcat, an investigative journalist, has released a new discovery. According to the Foeke Postma investigation, American soldiers stationed in Europe could accidentally disclose information about the United States nuclear weapons stockpile when they used popular flashcard training apps.
Apps like this offer flashcards to help users remember information, a popular learning tool. As Fock Postma discovered, the military used well-known applications and sites such as Chegg, Cram and Quizlet to create cards on which they stored information about bases in Europe, where US nuclear weapons were probably located, secret codes, passwords and other important security details.
What’s more, the military forgot to “close” sharing in app settings, which made usernames and photos publicly available, and since some of the soldiers used the same photos as on their LinkedIn profiles, it wasn’t difficult to link them to information about nuclear weapons.
It remains a mystery why the soldiers used unprotected training apps to memorize information.
Postma contacted officials from the US Department of Defense, NATO, and the US European Command several weeks before the release of his report, and the sensitive cards have since been removed. It is noted that data on nuclear weapons were freely available on cards from 2013 to April 2021. That being said, they can still be seen on the archived Wayback Machine site.