China Is ‘Leading Suspect’ in Massive Hack of US Government Networks

Speaking at a forum in Washington, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned of the danger posed by a capable adversary like the Chinese government.

“You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did,” Clapper said.

At least 18 million peopleand potentially tens of millions more around the world, including relatives, friends and associates of those who had background checks conducted by the U.S. government — may have had their personal information stolen when hackers broke into the systems of the Office of Personnel Management, authorities have said. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE: Signs of OPM Hack Turn Up at Another Federal Agency

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

5 Chinese Cyber Attacks That Might Be Even Worse Than the OPM Hack

In another article from yesterday, we did indeed find out SF-86s were compromised… every one of them.

In addition, point number one explaining the networks of 23 gas pipeline companies having crucial information stolen which could lead to serious sabotage and disruptions in America’s critical infrastructure is alarming. This is what military experts would also consider groundwork for military operations, as the article puts it, and why random pipeline explosions and refinery fires in critical areas of the infrastructure need to be looked at with deeper scrutiny and discernment.

These incidents are eerily coincidental to events leading up to Spetsnaz’s First World War.

In 2013 we were notified by Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov that they were activated and ready for combat. Target marking, sabotage operations and elimination of enemy commanders were on the list of duties.

It’s not a game anymore. The sword is coming.

 

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Part of the reason I am a bit blasé about the Office of Personnel Management hack, is if the Chinese government is indeed behind it, it’s not by any stretch the most dastardly thing they have done in cyberspace. It’s just the most recent one that we know about. It’s getting a lot of press because personally identifiable information (PII) was compromised.

This breach has crossed streams with a breach a year ago that did involve investigative files. David Sanger and Julie Hirschfeld Davis at the New York Times do a good job of untangling these two incidents in their recent article. It takes some close reading to understand that the headline, “Hackers May Have Obtained Names of Chinese With Ties to U.S. Government”, isn’t about this incident but the hack of an OPM contractor a year ago. Continue reading

The biggest heist of secret US personnel data in cyber history is still ongoing

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

Union: Hackers have personnel data on every federal employee

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

With a series of major hacks, China builds a database on Americans

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