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Union: Hackers have personnel data on every federal employee

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.

This is a travesty of first order. The “Einstein System” that the OPM used to protect all of that critically sensitive data was futile and the hackers knew it. The hackers knew once they bypassed Einstein there would be a virtual treasure trove of valuable data that will forever be usable for future exploits. While you can get a new credit card number, you are not going to get a new Social Security Number or some of the other user identity sensitive data. This is going to cost the government and as usual the taxpayers billions to clean up this mess for which the repercussions of this breach will have effects for many years to come. Let’s be clear here, the excuses the government uses to not have encrypted all of that sensitive data are wholly unacceptable. There is no viable reason for sensitive government data to be left in a database that was clear text and unencrypted, unless the goal was to have it stolen. It’s time for the government to “outsource” it’s internal IT administration to the private sector cybersecurity companies who have the expertise that apparently the government clearly doesn’t have or demonstrated. Time to turn to the companies who can provide the technology that will harden and protect our countries valuable and critical digital assets.      

CEO Richard Blech

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.

J. David Cox, president of the American Federal of Government Employees, said in a letter to OPM director Katherine Archuleta that based on OPM’s internal briefings, the hackers stole military records and veterans’ status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, and pension information; age, gender, race data.

The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

The union said it is basing its assessment on internal OPM briefings. The agency has sought to downplay the damage, saying that only limited personally identifying information was breached.

“We believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted, a cybersecurity failure that is absolutely indefensible and outrageous,” the letter said.

“Based on the sketchy information OPM has provided, we believe that the Central Personnel Data File was the targeted database, and that the hackers are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to one million former federal employees.”

Read the original article here.

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