The biggest government hack in American history has just gotten bigger. The Office of Personnel Management previously thought that only 1.1 million fingerprints were stolen in the breach that occurred on their networks in 2014. The OPM disclosed that an additional 4.5 million finger prints were stolen, bringing the number up to 5.6 million. The OPM data breach occurred back in 2014, but was first made public back in June 2015. The breach was discovered in April.
A Russian spy operation is using commercial satellite Internet connections to gather sensitive information from diplomatic and military agencies from around the world. Cybersecurity research firm Kaspersky Lab suspects that the hackers have infected computers in 45 different countries. Their targets are mainly government agencies and embassies, and research and development departments at pharmaceutical companies. This Russian hacking group has been compared to the same one that was able to hack the State Department, White House, and Pentagon earlier this year, although it has not been confirmed if the two groups are associated. Researchers won’t say if the hackers are state sponsored, but do suspect that they are affiliated with the Russian government in some way.
The Department of Homeland Security informed the public last week that the Office of Personnel Management had been compromised by hackers. The hackers were able to access the data of 2.1 million current federal employees, and 2 million former federal employees. The hackers were able to infiltrate the OPM databases that stored information about the federal employees who were applying for security clearances. The Chief Administrative Officer Ed informed the public that only employees who had worked for another federal agency in the past had been compromised.
The Office of Personnel Management discovered that its data has been accessed by hackers from China. About 2 million former government employees, and 2.1 million current federal employees had their information compromised. Chief Administrative Officer Ed Cassidy said only employees who had worked for another federal agency in the past have been compromised. The hackers targeted the OPM in particular because it holds a lot of personally identifying data about its employees. This cyber breach targeted federal employees who were applying for security clearances.
Last year in October, the White House believed that their unclassified computer networks were hacked into by Russian spies. Officials stressed that there was no evidence that the hackers had accessed classified networks or damaged any systems. The White House shut down Intranet and VPN access, and then periodically shut down systems for security upgrades. This cyber breach happened after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia as a result of the country’s actions in Ukraine.
Hackers are stealing data and personal information from all across the U.S.
We here at EiQ are more than aware with how vulnerable companies can be for data breaches and attacks. The biggest concern we have now is the threats to our federal government and how vulnerable the important data they hold is. According to a report released by the Government Accountability Office, federal agencies are not doing enough to guard against data breaches and protect personal identifiable information (PII) from falling into the wrong hands.
Congress finally reopened the government after almost two weeks and it was welcomed with much relief from the federal IT departments that had been affected. We addressed what the impact of a shutdown could have in a previous post, and now that it has happened, here is what the impact was.
During the shutdown, government IT departments and the security of crucial government data were left out of work, leaving the crucial data more easily accessible. It is a known fact that the US government agencies (DOD, Civilian and Intelligence) are a primary target of state sponsored cyber attacks and other external vulnerabilities. The government’s IT infrastructure is extremely complex and diverse. There are millions of IT assets that are connected to the Internet, thousands, if not millions, of vulnerabilities that need to be patched on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Government IT pros typically manage these jobs with great skills but now with a shortage of workers to handle these crucial tasks, a great crisis looms.