by Pamela Williams
In April of 2015, the most serious hack in US history occurred at the United States’ Office of Personnel Management (OPM) computer systems. It is an understatement to say it reached deep into the bowels of the US Government. Lives were at risk, and it destroyed the world of espionage for the US Intelligence community. The mega-hack of the Office of Personnel Management continued to get worse for Washington. Revelations of a second, even deeper intrusion into OPM servers revealed Pentagon employees, including intelligence personnel, were among the millions of Americans whose personal and security data had been compromised. It was a nightmare, and US Intelligence agents became targets of other governments. Many were brought back to the US, but the repercussions were so great, it will take a decade to correct the damage.
Thus, the US Government is still dealing with the ongoing damage that was done, and to this day, American citizens are really in the dark of what that damage really has done to the backbone of their Country. How bad this is was explained by Joel Brenner, who from 2006 to 2009 served as the Intelligence Community’s top counterintelligence official. He explained it this way: the hack as “crown jewels material, a goldmine” for China, who Washington insiders believe is behind the theft. At this point, you could say China owns the US.
Lets look at how deeply this attack penetrated into the interior of our Country. OPM is the human resources department for the civilian agencies of the federal government, so this attack exposed records for over four million current and former government employees at places like the Department of Defense. The breach, called “the biggest government hack ever,” included security clearance investigations on employees’ families, neighbors, and close associates stored in select government databases. The attack also affected a data center operated by Department of the Interior used by OPM and other agencies as a shared service. As a result, even more agencies may have been directly affected.
These attacks occurred despite the $4.5 billion National Cybersecurity and Protection System program and its centerpiece, Einstein. Falling under the Department of Homeland Security’s watch, Einstein is supposed to guard US gateways into cyberspace. I guess it is safe to say Einstein is not as smart as we thought. This is pretty scarey, huh? I felt that since America is so obsessed with the alleged “Russian hacking” story, we should all be aware of the biggest hacking story ever. It makes the “Russian story” look like a fairytale, while this is a nightmare of gigantic proportions. It, also, makes the Government a sitting duck for blackmail. Now China knows it all, and I don’t think they will forget it.
Lets look further into the “biggest hack ever”….to understand more about how this happened and the technicalities of the attack… Grayson Milbourne, security intelligence director at Webroot explains: Most likely, the information was obtained for intelligence purposes—having security investigation data on key government employees could prove very useful for any foreign intelligence organization.” Further all bets are on the Chinese using the raw data in many ways, and none of them in our national interest. I would say China has a lot on us, considering our debt to them and now all of this data taken from the hack. I am feeling like we are between a rock and a hard place now as never before.
Now, lets look at what occurred to Americans and their precious Internet on October 1 of 2016. It just keeps getting worse, and I am thinking the “biggest hack ever” and the “worst Obama mistake ever”…meaning giving up control of the Internet through ICANN to whom I believe is China. I believe, but I cannot prove that the “worst hack ever” is connected to the “worst Obama mistake ever!”
These are some quotes on the OPM data breach from WIKIPEDIA.com:
FBI Director James Comey stated: “It is a very big deal from a national security perspective and from a counterintelligence perspective. It’s a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government.”
Speaking at a forum in Washington, D.C., Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said: “You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did.”
President-elect Donald Trump said: “China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names. How come nobody even talks about that?”
The following is more information on the hack being from China:
Reports in the New York Times and Washington Post on Thursday, both citing unnamed sources in the federal government, reported Chinese hackers were behind the breach.
Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, said the hackers were believed to be based in China.
Collins, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said the breach was “yet another indication of a foreign power probing successfully and focusing on what appears to be data that would identify people with security clearances”.
— InvestmentWatch (@InvestWatchBlog) January 11, 2017
Now let’s examine some of the problems that will affect us as individuals from a national perspective:
White House update June 11, 2015 – Up to 14 Million government employees records hacked, including Military, Pentagon, Secret Service, FBI and CIA personal records containing security clearances, intelligence data, social security numbers, birthday dates and home addresses. The government is scrambling to identify the extend of information stolen. Nevertheless, this should be considered a major National Security incident. Massive U.S. Government Data Breach news report continues below, before the story was updated to 14 Million current and past federal employees records compromised.
Hackers stole personnel data and Social Security numbers for every federal employee, a government worker union said Thursday, charging that the cyberattack on U.S. employee data is far worse than the Obama administration has acknowledged. Senator Harry Reid said on the Senate floor that the December hack into Office of Personnel Management data was carried out by “the Chinese.” Reid is one of eight lawmakers who is briefed on the most secret intelligence information. U.S. officials have declined to publicly blame China, which has denied involvement.
J. David Cox, president of the American Federal of Government Employees, said in a letter to OPM director Katherine Archuleta that based on OPM’s internal briefings, the hackers stole military records and veterans’ status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, and pension information; age, gender, race data.
“We believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted, a cybersecurity failure that is absolutely indefensible and outrageous.”
“Based on the sketchy information OPM has provided, we believe that the Central Personnel Data File was the targeted database, and that the hackers are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to one million former federal employees.”