In the first congressional hearing since the U.S. announced that the data of 4 million current and former federal employees had been compromised, the head of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management stated 10 million intrusion attempts are thwarted in an average month.
In yesterday’s (June 16) three-hour hearing, committee members grilled OPM Director Katherine Archuleta about the extent of the data breach.
Despite Archuleta’s defense of the OPM office, “members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs insisted that the successful hacks showed data security could not have been a priority for the OPM,” Reuters reported.
“I want to emphasize that cybersecurity issues that the Government is facing is a problem that has been decades in the making, due to a lack of investment in federal IT systems and a lack of efforts in both the public and private sectors to secure our Internet infrastructure,” Archuleta said.
“These attacks will not stop — if anything, they will increase,” she added.
Archuleta said the OPM detected two breaches this spring. A breach detected in April impacted personnel records, and the second, detected in May, affected background investigations for prospective federal employees. Those breaches were identified and contained due to new security measures which were instilled last year, according to Archuleta, NBC News reported.
After confirming 4.2 million employees were affected by April’s OPM hack, she refused to provide the number of people impacted by the latest breach. The director also refused to answer repeated questions on the number of years’ worth of records affected as a result of the attacks.
According to Reuters, the committee’s top Democrat, Elijah Cummings, expressed concern about how many people were affected, what the government was doing to assist them and what foreign governments may do with their information.
“You failed. You failed utterly and totally,” said Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the committee’s chairman.
Thus far, the FBI has not explicitly indicated who might be responsible for the breach. Some U.S. officials have suspected Chinese hackers are behind the attack, but Chinese officials have denounced these accusations.
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