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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.
6 of 8

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Data Breach

In June 2015, the Office of Personnel Management, which manages the employment records of employees and contractors in civilian federal agencies, discovered two separate but related intrusions into its network.   

One of the intrusions affected personnel information, such as name, SSN, and date of birth, belonging to about 4.2 million current and former federal government employees. The other intrusion exposed names, Social Security numbers, health, criminal and financial histories and other background investigation records of 21.5 million employees and contractors who were either currently working with the government or had previously worked for it. Approximately 5.6 million of the compromised records included fingerprint data.  

OPM's breach disclosure evoked widespread concern not just because of the number of records involved but also because of the type of data that was exposed. Security analysts believe that threat actors will use the data for years in identity theft scams, for spearphishing and other social engineering campaigns.  


Not surprisingly, the breach disclosure drew considerable attention to the OPM's security practices -- or lack thereof. Many have faulted OPM for not encrypting the highly sensitive data in its possession and for not having enough controls for detecting and mitigating the intrusions quickly enough.



Image Source: Mark Van Scyoc via Shutterstock

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Data Breach

In June 2015, the Office of Personnel Management, which manages the employment records of employees and contractors in civilian federal agencies, discovered two separate but related intrusions into its network.

One of the intrusions affected personnel information, such as name, SSN, and date of birth, belonging to about 4.2 million current and former federal government employees. The other intrusion exposed names, Social Security numbers, health, criminal and financial histories and other background investigation records of 21.5 million employees and contractors who were either currently working with the government or had previously worked for it. Approximately 5.6 million of the compromised records included fingerprint data.

OPMs breach disclosure evoked widespread concern not just because of the number of records involved but also because of the type of data that was exposed. Security analysts believe that threat actors will use the data for years in identity theft scams, for spearphishing and other social engineering campaigns.

Not surprisingly, the breach disclosure drew considerable attention to the OPMs security practices -- or lack thereof. Many have faulted OPM for not encrypting the highly sensitive data in its possession and for not having enough controls for detecting and mitigating the intrusions quickly enough.

Image Source: Mark Van Scyoc via Shutterstock

6 of 8
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ClaireEllison
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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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