Ministry of Defence investigates after ‘small number’ of emails sent to Russian ally Mali instead of US military due to typing errors
Defence ministry officials were trying to send emails to the US military, whose internet domains end with “.mil”, but instead typed “.ml”, which is the top-level domain (TLD) for the country Mali.
Mali has developed close ties with Russia since a coup two years ago, while distancing itself from Western former colonisers including France.
The country has deployed Russian Wagner mercenaries to fight alongside the official army against jihadists.
And it was one of six African nations promised free grain shipments by Russia after the collapse of the grain export deal with Ukraine earlier this month.
The MoD said fewer than 20 “routine” emails were sent to “an incorrect domain”, adding that the information contained was “not classified at secret or above”.
“We assess fewer than 20 routine emails were sent to an incorrect domain and are confident there was no breach of operational security or disclosure of technical data,” the MoD said in a post on social messaging platform X – formerly known as Twitter.
The MoD said in a statement provided to Silicon UK that a “small number” of emails were involved and that all sensitive information is “shared on systems designed to minimise the risk of misdirection”.
(1/2) This report misleadingly claims state secrets were sent to Mali’s email domain. We assess fewer than 20 routine emails were sent to an incorrect domain & are confident there was no breach of operational security or disclosure of technical data. https://t.co/frvgl3PE8C
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) July 28, 2023
‘Data loss prevention’
“The MoD 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,” the department said.
Earlier this month a Financial Times investigation found millions of US military emails had been misdirected to Mali over the course of several years due to typographical errors.