A bit of a hack - the Office of Personnel Management

Office of Personnel Management? Our Federal Government and this is a biggie.

From The Washington Post:

Chinese hack compromised security-clearance database
The Chinese breach of the Office of Personnel Management network was wider than first acknowledged and officials said Friday that a database holding sensitive security clearance information on millions of federal employees and contractors also was compromised.

More:

The announcement of the hack of the security clearance database comes a week after OPM disclosed that another personnel system had been compromised. The discovery of the first led investigators to find the second--all part of one campaign by the Chinese, evidently to obtain information valuable to counterespionage.

And the money quote:

The separate background check database contains sensitive information — called SF-86 data — that includes applicants’ financial histories and investment records, children’s and relatives’ names, foreign trips taken and contacts with foreign nationals, past residences and names of neighbors and close friends.

The SF86 can be found here: Form SF86 - Questionnaire for National Security Positions

It is a 127 page document reaching into every aspect of the applicant's life

What makes this so egregious is that the hack was not found by Federal IT people, from Ars Technica:

Report: Hack of government employee records discovered by product demo
As officials of the Obama administration announced that millions of sensitive records associated with current and past federal employees and contractors had been exposed by a long-running infiltration of the networks and systems of the Office of Personnel Management on June 4, they claimed the breach had been found during a government effort to correct problems with OPM's security. An OPM statement on the attack said that the agency discovered the breach as it had "undertaken an aggressive effort to update its cybersecurity posture." And a DHS spokesperson told Ars that "interagency partners" were helping the OPM improve its network monitoring "through which OPM detected new malicious activity affecting its information technology systems and data in April 2015."

Those statements may not be entirely accurate. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the breach was indeed discovered in April. But according to sources who spoke to the WSJ's Damian Paletta and Siobhan Hughes, it was in fact discovered during a sales demonstration of a network forensics software package called CyFIR by its developer, CyTech Services. "CyTech, trying to show OPM how its cybersecurity product worked, ran a diagnostics study on OPM’s network and discovered malware was embedded on the network," Paletta and Hughes reported.

The Wall Street Journal article is behind a stupid paywall but the Ars Technica story covers the salient details.

And, according to federal investigators, that malware may have been in place for over a year. US intelligence agencies have joined the investigation into the breach. But it's still not even clear what data was accessed by the attackers.

Our nation is in the best of hands - we spent over $2 Billion dollars on the Obamacare website and now, this - a hack in place for over a year and only detected by a third-party vendor brining a tool in for demonstration.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on June 12, 2015 5:00 PM.

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