Menu
US reports massive breach of government personnel data

US reports massive breach of government personnel data

Four million federal government workers exposed

The U.S. is investigating a massive data breach that exposed personal information on around 4 million federal government workers, according to news reports Thursday.

China is suspected of having a hand in the attack, described by an unnamed official as "one of the largest thefts of government data ever seen," the Wall Street Journal reported.

The attack targeted the Office of Personnel Management, a government agency tasked with hiring and retaining government workers. The same agency was breached last year, but this was apparently a separate attack.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed the breach, saying data from OPM and the Interior Department were compromised at the beginning of last month, according to the Associated Press.

The OPM conducts the vast majority of background checks on government employees, and a big question is whether information about intelligence agency workers was exposed.

Last year, OPM and the Department of Homeland Security stopped doing background checks through a contractor in Virginia, after the contractor said its networks had been breached in what looked like a state sponsored attack. That incident was apparently unrelated to this latest hack.

The FBI is investigating to determine which federal agencies were affected, though it could potentially be all of them, news reports said.

China is often a suspect in state-sponsored attacks, but it's unclear how much evidence points to that country on this occasion. Unnamed U.S. officials told the Journal that China is a suspect, but they also said the investigation continues. The Journal notes that it's notoriously hard to identify the origin of attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security said its intrusion detection system, known as Einstein, detected the attack and that the FBI is investigating, the AP reported.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Office of Personnel Management

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments