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Attacks/Breaches

11/15/2016
09:00 AM
Jai Vijayan
Jai Vijayan
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The 7 Most Significant Government Data Breaches

Mega compromises at federal and state agencies over the past three years has compromised everything from personal data on millions to national security secrets.
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United States Postal Services Intrusion 

The United States Postal Service was forced to temporarily take down its VPN service for employees and suspend telecommuting following a November 2014 intrusion that exposed personal data on 800,000 employees.  

The unknown threat actors behind the attack accessed files containing the names, Social Security numbers and a slew of other personal data belonging to all active postal workers and those who had retired from the USPS after May 2012. Victims included the US Postmaster General, executive leadership team members and members of the USPS Employee Advisory Services Group.  


The breach also exposed the names and telephone numbers of an estimated 2.9 million postal service customers who had called or emailed the USPS' call center with an inquiry between January and August 2014.  


A postal service FAQ posted after the incident did not identify the cause of the breach but noted that the USPS' VPN was identified as being vulnerable to attack. The FAQ claimed that postal service cyber investigators had identified the methods and the locations that the attackers used to gain access to data systems.  


The breach led to some speculation about China-based threat actors being behind it.


Image Source: Greg K__ca via Shutterstock

United States Postal Services Intrusion

The United States Postal Service was forced to temporarily take down its VPN service for employees and suspend telecommuting following a November 2014 intrusion that exposed personal data on 800,000 employees.

The unknown threat actors behind the attack accessed files containing the names, Social Security numbers and a slew of other personal data belonging to all active postal workers and those who had retired from the USPS after May 2012. Victims included the US Postmaster General, executive leadership team members and members of the USPS Employee Advisory Services Group.

The breach also exposed the names and telephone numbers of an estimated 2.9 million postal service customers who had called or emailed the USPS call center with an inquiry between January and August 2014.

A postal service FAQ posted after the incident did not identify the cause of the breach but noted that the USPS VPN was identified as being vulnerable to attack. The FAQ claimed that postal service cyber investigators had identified the methods and the locations that the attackers used to gain access to data systems.

The breach led to some speculation about China-based threat actors being behind it.

Image Source: Greg K__ca via Shutterstock

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ClaireEllison
50%
50%
ClaireEllison,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2016 | 4:22:24 PM
Re: amazing
A great post with good questions/ But how to avoid that? I really wanted to send a small word to say thanks to you for the fantastic points you are writing on this site.
ONI SEO
50%
50%
ONI SEO,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/18/2016 | 11:34:05 AM
Mr ROBOT comes soon?
A great post with good questions/ But how to avoid that? What kind of solutions?
kbannan100
50%
50%
kbannan100,
User Rank: Moderator
11/17/2016 | 10:59:38 PM
It's going to take a village
These breaches are just the tip of the iceberg. We all know that. One of the biggest problems is the amount of unsecured endpoints that are out there. Things like printers that aren't secured and laptops that aren't running antivirus or -- if they are -- have not been patched. It's going to take a lot more work on everyone's behalf before the good guys get ahead of the criminals. 

--Karen Bannan for IDG and HP
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