Categorized | International, Local, News

US Government Hacked by Chinese Cyberspies

Nicole Motta

25100-53bef74bs us flagAccording to a report from The New York Times on Wednesday, Chinese hackers broke into the computer networks containing the personal information of all federal United States government employees earlier this year.

Though news of the breach is just surfacing, the attackers gained access to the system in March before the infiltration was detected and blocked. The hackers appeared to target files “on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances,” according to senior American officials. It is unclear at this time how far the hackers penetrated the agency’s systems which hold personal data on federal employees including employment records, foreign contacts, and personal information including past drug use. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it was aware of an attempted attack on the Office of Personnel Management, particularly its e-QIP system. A senior official from Homeland Security said that “at this time” neither the personnel agency nor Homeland Security had “identified any loss of personally identifiable information.”

One senior American official said that the attack had been traced to China, though it was not clear if the attack was state-sponsored. Despite this uncertainty, US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Chinese cyber-espionage harshly while wrapping up a series of high-level meetings in Beijing on Thursday. “Instances of cyber theft have harmed our business and threatened our nation’s competitiveness,” said Kerry. “The loss of intellectual property through cyber [spying] has a chilling effect on innovation and investment.” On March’s breach, Kerry said, “At this point in time, it does not appear to have compromised any sensitive material.”

Photo credit: Ian Sane via Flickr

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25100-53bef74bs us flagAccording to a report from The New York Times on Wednesday, Chinese hackers broke into the computer networks containing the personal information of all federal United States government employees earlier this year.

Though news of the breach is just surfacing, the attackers gained access to the system in March before the infiltration was detected and blocked. The hackers appeared to target files “on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances,” according to senior American officials. It is unclear at this time how far the hackers penetrated the agency’s systems which hold personal data on federal employees including employment records, foreign contacts, and personal information including past drug use. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it was aware of an attempted attack on the Office of Personnel Management, particularly its e-QIP system. A senior official from Homeland Security said that “at this time” neither the personnel agency nor Homeland Security had “identified any loss of personally identifiable information.”

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One senior American official said that the attack had been traced to China, though it was not clear if the attack was state-sponsored. Despite this uncertainty, US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Chinese cyber-espionage harshly while wrapping up a series of high-level meetings in Beijing on Thursday. “Instances of cyber theft have harmed our business and threatened our nation’s competitiveness,” said Kerry. “The loss of intellectual property through cyber [spying] has a chilling effect on innovation and investment.” On March’s breach, Kerry said, “At this point in time, it does not appear to have compromised any sensitive material.”

Photo credit: Ian Sane via Flickr