You may remember that one of the funniest stories of 2022 was the way players of War thunder—an online arcade shooter featuring real military vehicles—just kept posting military documents on the game’s forums. Not as espionage, but to win discussions about specifications.
I am therefore incredibly happy to report that this will also be one of the funniest stories of 2023.
Last time we checked in with these guys it was some tank players who, despite ban after ban, continued to share detailed, classified information about currently operational Main Battle Tanks and their armaments.
This week we’ve seen something similar happen, only this time it’s about fighter jets. As Mass OP report, earlier this week “a player shared military documents related to the F-16 fighter jet to win a discussion”. The problem is that those documents, while not classed as secret military documentation like the tank boys’ stuff, were still prohibited material “under the jurisdiction of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a State Department law that disclosure and transfer of U.S. weapons data and information to foreign individuals, including distribution on the Internet”. classifiedbut still not the sort of thing you should be posting on a video game forum.
Then, just a day later, someone else was at it again! This time a different user excerpts posted from over a dozen weapon system manuals for the F-15E. Again, these were unclassified – indeed, they were for systems old enough to be declassified– but like I said, just because something isn’t secret doesn’t mean you can post it freely on internet forums for anyone in the world to see. So they have also been removed.
I said this last year but I’ll say it again now, the fact that video game forums have become one of the biggest opsec dangers of modern times just because some dudes want to argue about a gun’s stats , is all funny.