This morning, 4 million public servants (both former and current) are facing the wonderful world of breached data in the aftermath of a massive data breach first announced by the Federal Government yesterday (June 4).
According to reports, the Office of Personnel Management is officially warning potentially exposed individuals to be on the lookout for future fraudulent activities. The federal government’s HR department notes that the breach of its systems first occurred in April 2015.
“Protecting our federal employee data from malicious cyber incidents is of the highest priority at OPM,” Katherine Archuleta, the office’s director, said in a statement.
The office further enumerated improvements to its security infrastructure as a result of the breach: those improvements include instating anti-malware software on its systems and reviewing connections to make sure “only legitimate business connections have access to the Internet.”
The breach is believed to have originated with Chinese hackers and is currently under investigation by the FBI, which has said it will “hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”
If the initial suspicions about the ethnicity of the hackers is accurate, that will be the second breach by Chinese nationals of the U.S. federal government this year – a hacking outfit called “Deep Panda” successfully hacked the State Department and White House earlier this year.
In response to the hack, OPM said it will offer free credit monitoring to affected employees.
“This latest intrusion … is among the most shocking because Americans may expect that federal computer networks are maintained with state of the art defenses,” Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, noted yesterday while pushing for a more stringent anti-cybercrime legislation.
“The cyber threat from hackers, criminals, terrorists and state actors is one of the greatest challenges we face on a daily basis, and it’s clear that a substantial improvement in our cyber databases and defenses is perilously overdue,” he added. “That’s why the House moved forward on cybersecurity legislation earlier this year, and it’s my hope that this latest incident will spur the Senate to action.”
Privacy advocates believe such legislation would overly empower the NSA, whose surveillance tactics have recently come under fire.
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