January 17, 2018

US Government Personnel Network Hacked China SERVER

Government officials told the New York Times that Chinese hackers managed to infiltrate the network of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which contains the personal information of all federal employees. The hack took place back in March, and was aimed at acquiring the files of thousands who have applied for top-secret clearance. This information includes previous jobs, foreign contacts, financial data and more.
According to the report, the hackers managed to access several databases before federal authorities detected the hack and blocked them from the network. Currently the personnel agency and Homeland Security have no idea how deep the infiltration goes, nor do they know if the hackers are a part of the Chinese government. An emergency response team was assigned to the case to determine if any personally identifiable information was obtained.
American officials admit that attacks against the United States government servers take place every day, but they rarely succeed, which is why this attempt is a real eyeopener. The Office of Personnel Management is run by a system called e-QIP, which requires personal information when federal employees apply for security clearance. This info is used to determine if the applicant is qualified for security clearances.
The last successful attempt to break into the U.S. government's network took place last year. Hackers gained entry to the Department of Energy and ran off with contractor and employee data. The DOE was forced to reveal the details due to state disclosure laws that require agencies to disclose breaches when personal information is involved; disclosure isn't required when it pertains to the theft of sensitive government data.
One senior government official told the New York Times that the attack can be traced back to China. However, the Chinese point out that the United States isn't any better thanks to Edward Snowden. Snowden revealed that the NSA hacked its way deep into the computer systems of Huawei and ran programs to intercept the conversations of China and its military.
The paper also points out that despite the Obama administration's desire for American companies to come forward with breaches if they involve personal information, that didn't happen with the Office of Personnel Management. Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the Obama administration, told the paper that the administration has never advocated that all intrusions should be made public.
"We have advocated that businesses that have suffered an intrusion notify customers if the intruder had access to consumers’ personal information," Hayden said. "We have also advocated that companies and agencies voluntarily share information about intrusions."
Although the hack wasn't announced to the public, it was revealed to other federal agencies, state governments and local governments. The info was then shared with several members of the security industry. So far there's no evidence that personal information was obtained in the hack.
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