Menu
Russia, China said to use hacked databases to find US spies

Russia, China said to use hacked databases to find US spies

Foreign intelligence agencies are reportedly cross-checking compromised information

Foreign spy agencies, including those from Russia and China, are cross-checking hacked databases to identify U.S. intelligence operatives, according to a news report.

One secret network of U.S. engineers and scientists providing technical assistance to the country's overseas undercover agencies has been compromised, according to a story Monday in the Los Angeles Times.

Foreign intelligence agencies are cross-referencing several compromised databases, whose information includes security clearance applications and airline records, to identify U.S. intelligence agents, the report said.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced a breach of its security clearance database in June. That breach compromised information on the government’s Standard Form 86, a 127-page questionnaire that asks about an applicant’s past military experience, criminal background, computer hacking activities, financial problems and links to terrorism groups.

U.S. lawmakers have worried that the OPM breach would endanger intelligence agents and open up applicants to blackmail.

With the OPM breach and other recent compromises, "our biggest fear has been that these data breaches were not isolated incidents, but part of a larger campaign with the intent to expose intelligence agents and others with security clearances around the world," Ken Westin, security analyst for cybersecurity Tripwire, said by email.

There is growing evidence that exposing intelligence agents was the motivation behind several breaches, he added.

The report raises several concerns for government agencies and private businesses, Westin said. "Our risk and threat models don't take into account the exponential damage that can come when datasets from multiple breaches are correlated," he said. "Big data isn't just used in business, but also cybercrime and espionage, and this is more apparent now than ever."

A "massive amount of data" that people willingly share helps make this type of espionage possible, said Tim Erlin, director of IT security and risk strategy at Tripwire. "The actual government records provide a key set of data, but when correlated with other information, enemy nation-states can assemble a dangerously complete picture," he said.


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.

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments