American Elephants

It’s All Falling Apart. Chapter 8 by The Elephant's Child
June 5, 2015, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Politics

I referred to this in Chapter 7, but it is such a big hack that it deserves its own chapter. Hackers, the Chinese are suspected, breached the computers of the US government agency that collects personnel information for federal workers in a massive cyber attack that compromised the data of about 4 million current and former employees.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had launched a probe and would hold the culprits accountable.

The breach affected the Office of Personnel Management’s IT systems and its data stored at the Department of the Interior’s data center which is a shared service center for federal agencies, a DHS official said on condition of anonymity. The official would not comment on whether other agencies’ data had been affected.

OPM had previously been the victim of another cyberattack, as have various government computer systems at the State Department. the U .S. Postal Service and the White House.

The U.S. government has long raised concerns about cyber spying and theft emanating from China and has urged Beijing to do more to curb the problem. China has denied U.S. accusations.

There was no immediate comment from the White House on the latest cyber attack.

Since the intrusion, OPM said it had implemented additional security precautions for its networks. It said it would notify the 4 million people affected and offer credit monitoring and identity theft services to the people affected.

How effective to urge Beijing to do more to curb the problem! Chinese government hackers would not hack without the express permission of the Chinese government. But then my knowledge of cyber attacks is limited to reading Mark Bowden’s account of the Conficker worm which infected its first computer in November 2008 and had infiltrated 1.5 million computers in 195 countries. By January 2009, it lay hidden in at least 8 million computers. The book is simply called Worm:The First Digital World War, and is a great read. The US government was only vaguely aware of the threat that Conficker posed, and the task of fighting back fell to what came to be called the Conficker Cabal.


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