An unnamed man, on his way to the library, spotted a thumb drive on the sidewalk in Queen’s Park, West London. He pocketed the USB drive and continued on his way. He remembered the USB drive a few days later and returned to the library to view its contents. Recognizing the sensitive nature of the information, he then turned the USB drive over to The Sunday Mirror tabloid.
It is obvious how this information would benefit someone intent on disrupting the airport or causing harm to dignitaries or VIPs. Many documents were labeled as “confidential” or “restricted” highlighting their sensitive nature. In an interesting twist, these labels follow an older labeling scheme so there is a question of how up-to-date this information is. Even if the information is outdated, knowing former protocols and designs help a bad actor to anticipate the current solutions.
According to a Heathrow Airport spokesperson’s comment to CNN, “Heathrow’s top priority is the safety and security of our passengers and colleagues. The UK and Heathrow have some of the most robust aviation security measures in the world and we remain vigilant to evolving threats by updating our procedures on a daily basis. We have reviewed all of our security plans and are confident that Heathrow remains secure. We have also launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened and are taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future.”