An attack by Chinese hackers against the databases of a United States government agency risked the personal information of tens of thousands of employees who had applied for top-secret security clearances. Although the hackers were thwarted by authorities before any information was stolen, the attack highlights the increasing importance of universal data protection.
The United States Office of Personnel Management is responsible for managing the e-QIP system, through which federal employees seeking security clearances enter some of their most personal information, including financial data. In March, Chinese hackers broke into the Office’s network, gaining access to some of the Office’s databases containing the sensitive information. However, authorities detected and blocked the threat before any information was stolen.
This attack was particularly notable because although hackers attempt to breach United States government networks on a daily basis, they rarely succeed. The incident forms the latest in a series of rare but serious government information security breaches, including a 2013 attack on the United States Department of Energy in which hackers successfully made off with the personal information of employees and contractors.
Information security breaches can originate from any country and affect any organisation. Organisations must ensure that data protection remains a priority, particularly where the personal information of employees or clients is at risk.
Talk to GRC Solutions today about our Data Protection course.
Source: New York Times