Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

3/21/2008
02:08 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Obama Suffers Personal Data Breach

State Department contractors under investigation for accessing passport files without authorization

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is the latest high-profile victim of a personal data breach, after three State Department employees gained unauthorized access to his passport files.

Breaking news update: The State Department this afternoon said that the passport files of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain were also breached, according to the Associated Press.

Pop star Britney Spears recently suffered a similar breach of privacy after several employees, including doctors, at the UCLA Medical Center were either fired or disciplined for peeking at Spears’s medical records while she was hospitalized there for psychiatric care. (See Curiosity Over Britney Kills Careers of 13 Cats.)

But the Obama breach has obvious political implications, and has spurred an investigation over whether the breaches were politically motivated, according to an Associated Press report. The State Department said the breaches of Obama’s passport records transpired on Jan. 9, Feb. 21, and March 14.

State Department Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy told reporters last night that the breaches were "flagged" by a computer system that sends out an alert when an unauthorized user tries to view the records.

Two of the three employees, which were all contractors for the State Department, were fired, and another disciplined before senior State Department officials were informed of the breaches. "I will fully acknowledge this information should have been passed up the line," Kennedy said in a press conference call. "It was dealt with at the office level."

Just what personal information the State Department employees actually accessed is unclear, but the agency’s inspector general is investigating the incidents.

Obama’s Senate office was notified yesterday about the breach. His campaign staff, meanwhile, is calling for an in-depth investigation: “This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama's passport file, for what purpose and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach," said Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama's presidential campaign.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
AI Is Everywhere, but Don't Ignore the Basics
Howie Xu, Vice President of AI and Machine Learning at Zscaler,  9/10/2019
Fed Kaspersky Ban Made Permanent by New Rules
Dark Reading Staff 9/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-14540
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-15
A Polymorphic Typing issue was discovered in FasterXML jackson-databind before 2.9.10. It is related to com.zaxxer.hikari.HikariConfig.
CVE-2019-16332
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-15
In the api-bearer-auth plugin before 20190907 for WordPress, the server parameter is not correctly filtered in the swagger-config.yaml.php file, and it is possible to inject JavaScript code, aka XSS.
CVE-2019-16333
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-15
GetSimple CMS v3.3.15 has Persistent Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) in admin/theme-edit.php.
CVE-2019-16334
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-15
In Bludit v3.9.2, there is a persistent XSS vulnerability in the Categories -> Add New Category -> Name field. NOTE: this may overlap CVE-2017-16636.
CVE-2019-16335
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-15
A Polymorphic Typing issue was discovered in FasterXML jackson-databind before 2.9.10. It is related to com.zaxxer.hikari.HikariDataSource. This is a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-14540.