When we think of cyber attacks, we generally picture a lone wolf hacker or Anonymous-type organization. But foreign governments are also formidable threats. Take a moment to scan the headlines and you’ll see that articles about cyber hacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Democratic National Committee—among many others—have been attributed to North Korea and Russia.
April marked one of the largest data breaches in history, with 11.5 million confidential documents leaked online. How did it happen—and what can we learn from it?
By now, you’ve probably heard all about the so-termed Panama Papers, one of the largest data leaks in history. The law firm Mossack Fonseca, a firm that specialized in helping clients create offshore financial holdings, reported that 11.5 million confidential documents leaked online, comprising more than 2 terabytes of data.
The U.S. government must direct serious attention to fixing the integrity of the nation’s security clearance system, marred by the cyber breach on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The true magnitude of the attack, which exposed more than 20 million federal workers and their families, is even greater than previously reported—now that we know that attack could have multiple repercussions on national security. Charles Allen, a senior intelligence adviser to the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, stated the breach was a risk to national security unlike any he has seen during his 50 years in the intelligence community.
Cyber attackers might have compromised computer files of more than 40,000 employees following an attack on federal contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
OPM issued a statement on the breach and began notifying employees that files might have been compromised.
“While there was no conclusive evidence to confirm sensitive information was removed from the system, it is possible that personally identifiable data may have been exposed,” reads an OPM statement.
KeyPoint Government Solutions conducts background checks for government agencies. One of its competitors, USIS, suffered a breach earlier this year.
The Pentagon's TRICARE office is offering assistance to nearly 5 million people who may have been affected by a recent data breach contractor Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) reported. Officials say the breach came to light in Texas in mid-September and involves patients treated at military hospitals and clinics during the past 20 years. The data, stored on magnetic tapes stolen from a car, includes names, Social Security numbers, addresses and telephone numbers, along with clinic notes, lab tests and prescription information.
Sensational data breaches such as the recent hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in which employees’ personal information such as Social Security numbers, salary details and emails not only were stolen but publicly disseminated, make for great headlines and capture people’s attention—mainly because the public can relate to the breaches. The headline-grabbing attack leaves people thinking that this could happen to them.
It could, and it does, said experts on Wednesday during the standing-room-only Cybersecurity Technology Symposium hosted by the AFCEA Bethesda chapter in Washington, D.C.