Old-school crooks managed to steal documents related to secret plans to build a joint French-British drone aircraft after snatching a briefcase at a Paris railway station.
The briefcase was stolen from an executive at French defence contractor Dassault Aviation while he and a colleague were in the process of purchasing a Eurostar ticket at Paris Gare du Nord station on 2 February, according to French media reports. The man left his briefcase unattended in order to help his colleague, who was apparently being hassled by an unidentified ne'er-do-well. When he looked back the case was gone.
Police are examining CCTV footage in order to identify the suspected footpads, the BBC reports.
Dassault Aviation played down the incident, saying that the documents involved lost in the snatch were not particularly sensitive and stating that the security of the project was not at risk.
The incident serves as a reminder that despite all the hype about cyber-espionage and targeted attacks, many against military contractors, the threat of theft or loss of sensitive documents (or computers that contain those documents) is just as real as it ever was. ®