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Massive Federal Data Breach – Cyber Security

Date posted: 5th June 2015

President Obama announced on Thursday a massive data breach of federal employees’ data. This involves up to four million current and former employees and is believed to have been originated in China.

The Office of Personnel Management which stored the breached data handles government security clearances and federal employee records. The breach is believed to have taken place late last year and was discovered this spring.

Included in the records were social security numbers, address and other personal identifiable information. Authorities were still speculating on whether the attack was for commercial gain or for spying.

It’s unclear at this point whether the attack is state sponsored but federal officials see little doubt at this point that it originated from China. This breach is the third major foreign attack into the United States federal systems in the past year. Previously the White House and the State Department were compromised in attacks attributed to Russian based hackers. This prior attack may have included President Obama’s unclassified records.

As of Thursday night’s announcement the F.B.I was working to investigate the matter. Quoting spokesman Josh Campbell “We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace”

Personnel affected by the data breach can request up to 18 months of free credit monitoring to ensure ongoing safety and the department has brought on cyber security experts to help assess the data breach.

Cyber Security should be a concern for all organizations big and small. Information security technology of the past are not sufficient to combat the growing skills of hackers. The best way to prevent these threats is ongoing vulnerability assessment and penetration testing by expert consultants.