It’s the latest chapter in the saga of cyber warfare. In one of the largest cyber-attacks, hackers broke into U.S. government computers that collect personnel information for federal employees, and stole the personal data of 4 million current and former federal workers.
Cyber investigators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are trying to determine the identity of hackers. Some U.S. officials maintained that the culprits were based in China. However, China had refuted the allegation as irresponsible.
In April this year, The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) had found a new malicious activity affecting its information systems. The Department of Homeland Security concluded at the beginning of May that the government’s data, including employee records and security clearances, had been compromised.
The experts said that the agenda behind the attack carried out by ‘foreign entity or government’ was to build a database of federal employees using the hacked personal information to set up future attacks.
If the theft was actually committed by China, it may now be able to identify, expose and blackmail U.S. government officials by threatening to reveal who had security clearances and at what level.
Meanwhile, the White House has urged the United States Congress to come out of the “dark ages” and pass new cyber security rules. It said that the Congress needed to make sure that the country possessed the kinds of defences that were required to protect a modern computer system.
In February 2015, the hackers got into the healthcare records of Anthem Inc, the second largest U.S. health insurer, and Premera Blue Cross, a healthcare services provider, and committed the data theft. After the latest incident, the cyber investigators are linking this security breach to the earlier one committed this year.
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