The CIA pulled a number of officers from the US Embassy in Beijing as a precautionary measure following the massive online theft of personal data of federal employees, current and former US officials said.
The move is a concrete impact of the breach, one of two major hacks into Office of Personnel Management computers that were disclosed earlier this year. Officials have privately attributed the hacks to the Chinese government.
The theft of documents has been characterised by senior US officials as political espionage intended to identify spies and people who might be recruited as spies or blackmailed to provide useful information.
Because the OPM records contained the background checks of State Department employees, officials privately said the Chinese could have compared those records with the list of embassy personnel. Anybody not on that list could be a CIA officer. Continue reading
The only reason that the U.S. would make a deal with China is that China now does a better job at cyberwarfare and has the upper hand, thanks to years of Obama’s dismantling of America. What’s more, everyone knows China isn’t going to stick to the agreement and continue operations. This capitulation signals America is losing its edge.
U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed that neither country’s government will conduct or “knowingly” support cyber theft of intellectual property or commercial trade secrets, an issue that has been a source of tensions.
“I indicated it [cyber theft] has to stop.” Obama said at a joint news conference after private talks with Xi at the White House Friday. “This is progress, but I have to insist that our work is not yet done.” Continue reading
According to CrowdStrike founder Dmitri Alperovitch, Chinese hackers are using information gained from the breaches of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as well as intrusions into the Anthem and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield health insurance networks, to build a complete profile of federal employees in what the company calls a “Facebook of Everything.”
As Fox News has reported, the most sensitive information stolen in the OPM breach was lifted from what is known as the Standard Form 86, or SF-86. The 127-page security clearance application is essentially a road map to your life. It contains highly detailed information on everything from where an applicant lived and worked, to personal references, family members, friends and associates, as well as drug history and intimate health information. Continue reading
The federal personnel agency announced Thursday a massive hack.
More than 21 million Social Security numbers were compromised in a breach that affected a database of sensitive information on federal employees held by the Office of Personnel Management, the agency announced Thursday.That number is in addition to the 4.2 million social security numbers that were compromised in another data breach at OPM that was made public in June.
Of the 21.5 million records that were stolen, 19.7 million belonged to individuals who had undergone background investigation, OPM said. The remaining 1.8 million records belonged to other individuals, mostly applicants’ families.
The “patch and pray” system within the United States has killed cyber security. Nobody is willing to commit any funds to protecting the system until something has already happened. Unless this way of thinking is changed and experts begin to go on the offense with cyber defense, America’s IT infrastructure is as good as dead.
Another week, another wave of cyber alarm in America. On Wednesday both the New York Stock Exchange and United Airlines suspended activity for several hours due to mysterious computing problems, while the Wall Street Journal’s website briefly went down. All three insisted that the outages reflected technical hitches, not malicious attack. But many are anxious after past assaults on mighty American companies and agencies.
In February Anthem, an insurance company, revealed that cyber hackers had stolen information on 80m customers. The Washington-based Office of Personnel Management said cyber hackers had taken data on millions of federal employees. Companies ranging from retailers to banks have been attacked, too. Continue reading
The National Archives and Records Administration recently detected unauthorized activity on three desktops indicative of the same hack that extracted sensitive details on millions of current and former federal employees, government officials said Monday. The revelation suggests the breadth of one of the most damaging cyber assaults known is wider than officials have disclosed.
The National Archives’ own intrusion-prevention technology successfully spotted the so-called indicators of compromise during a scan this spring, said a source involved in the investigation, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident. The discovery was made soon after the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team published signs of the wider attack — which targeted the Office of Personnel Management — to look for at agencies, according to NARA. Continue reading
How many times can a nation be warned, yet still do next to nothing to neutralize the threat, before an attack or natural disaster actually happens? For more on the SCADA systems, see HERE and HERE. Imagine, for example, Russian or Chinese hackers being able to control dosage levels of medications for patients in America, without America knowing. The threat is real.
A former CIA director says the Obama administration hasn’t done nearly enough to protect the nation from attacks to America’s information and critical infrastructure systems.
“The president has to put this first on his list because we are very vulnerable, and we will stay vulnerable until some key things get fixed. So far, I have not seen anywhere near enough commitment from the White House or any place else in getting this done,” said R. James Woolsey, who served as director of the Central Intelligence in the Clinton administration. Woolsey is now chairman of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
As was mentioned just the other day, all U.S. intelligence agencies have been compromised in addition to all other government entities that were attacked.
The White House has admitted that systems containing deeply personal information, submitted by current, former and prospective federal government employees for security clearances, had been “exfiltrated.” If the breach of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was conducted by hackers linked to China, as suspected, access to the Standard Form 86 submitted by an estimated 41 million federal employees provided them with what may be the world’s largest stolen data base of US intelligence and military personnel.
This is a “gold mine” of unencrypted data that leave US intelligence officers, for example, open to blackmail or coerced recruitment.
While officials speak of two hacks, debkafile’s cyber security and intelligence experts report that it was a single breach and is still ongoing. Known to experts as an “Advanced Persistent Threat,” it amounts to slow, continuous penetration by a computer virus, planted in an individual computer of a network which duplicates itself gradually and insidiously. Continue reading
So, basically you can now say that the CIA, NSA, FBI et al have been compromised and are now in a Chinese database for future operations.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hackers stole personnel data and Social Security numbers for every federal employee, a government worker union said Thursday, charging that the cyberattack on U.S. employee data is far worse than the Obama administration has acknowledged.
Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor that the December hack into Office of Personnel Management data was carried out by “the Chinese.” Reid is one of eight lawmakers who is briefed on the most secret intelligence information. U.S. officials have declined to publicly blame China, which has denied involvement. Continue reading
China is building massive databases of Americans’ personal information by hacking government agencies and U.S. health-care companies, using a high-tech tactic to achieve an age-old goal of espionage: recruiting spies or gaining more information on an adversary, U.S. officials and analysts say.
Groups of hackers working for the Chinese government have compromised the networks of the Office of Personnel Management, which holds data on millions of current and former federal employees, as well as the health insurance giant Anthem, among other targets, the officials and researchers said.
“They’re definitely going after quite a bit of personnel information,” said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer of ThreatConnect, a Northern Virginia cybersecurity firm. “We suspect they’re using it to understand more about who to target [for espionage], whether electronically or via human recruitment.” Continue reading
To put this in perspective, roughly 95% of federal employees have been hit.
Washington: Hackers broke into US government computers, possibly compromising the personal data of 4 million current and former federal employees, with investigators probing whether the culprits were based in China, US officials said.
In the latest in a string of intrusions into US agencies’ high-tech systems, the US Office of Personnel Management suffered what appeared to be one of the largest breaches of information ever on government workers. The office handles employee records and security clearances. Continue reading